Canada has designated October as Islamic History Month to teach the population about the community’s history, achievements and struggles.
Canada has decided to mark October as Islamic History Month as per a parliamentary decision passed in 2007, in light of increased hate crime targeting the community.
In a statement released by the Canada Heritage department – the country’s official culture ministry – the month has been designated for people to learn about the community’s history in Canada, and “the many achievements of Muslim Canadians in the arts, sports, academics, sciences and literature”.
The month is also to allow Canadians to acknowledge ongoing challenges and barriers faced by Canada’s more than one million Muslims, who make up about 3.2 percent of the population according to 2011 statistics. That number has most likely grown in a decade.
“This year has been difficult for Muslim communities across Canada, as we saw the horrific results of racism and hate,” the statement read.
“Together, we must combat all forms of discrimination, Islamophobia and hate-fueled violence directed at Muslim communities across the country. This month is a time to continue working toward a compassionate, inclusive and safer Canada for everyone”.
In June, four members of the same family – including a 15-year-old girl – were killed while out for a walk in London in the state of Ontario. Police allege the incident was a planned and premeditated attack targeting Muslims.
A mosque in Cambridge in the same state was vandalised the following month.
In January, 2017, six Muslim men were killed in an attack on a Quebec City mosque.
Later that same year, Canada passed a motion condemning Islamophobia and all other forms of systemic racism, stating that the government recognises “the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear”.