(OTTAWA, CANADA, 3/19/06) The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today called on law enforcement authorities to treat an attack on Muslim students at the University of Toronto (UT) as a hate crime and to bring the strongest possible criminal charges. CAIR-CAN is also calling on the university to take concrete steps to address racial hate and Islamophobia on campus.
Several witnesses told CAIR-CAN that a man attempted to run down four Muslim students with his car on the university campus on Sunday after yelling racial slurs at them. One of the students was reportedly hit by the car and taken to a nearby hospital by paramedics.
“The University of Toronto has been known for its tolerance and accommodation of religious needs. Now the university must take a strong stand to show that all forms of hate and racism, including Islamophobia, will not be tolerated on its campus,” said Riad Saloojee, CAIR-CAN’s executive director. He added that the university must take action to ensure the safety of its Muslim students.
In a prior complaint, a female Muslim student at the university told CAIR-CAN she was pushed and called a terrorist on March 7. Earlier complaints received by CAIR-CAN concerned at least two different flyers promoting Islamophobia that were distributed at both York University and the University of Toronto.
The victim of the March 7 incident told CAIR-CAN that she believed a “Know Radical Islam” weeklong event organized by a student group at the university in February may have also contributed to the recent rise of Islamophobia on campus.
For more information about allegations of Islamophobia on campus, see: http://www.caircan.ca/itn_more.php?id=2383_0_2_0_C
Last week, CAIR-CAN sent a letter to David Naylor, president of the University of Toronto, asking that the university take a strong stand against hate. CAIR-CAN reiterated that request this weekend.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-CAN, Halima Mautbur at 613-795-2012; CAIR-DC, Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Council on American-Islamic Relations – CANADA