Translator: Feyza Süsal
The world has recently seen a rise in Islamophobia, even politically supported and legalized in some countries. But that is not the only case. Here’s a hope-inspiring example involving not a Muslim group but a state institution in Ontario, Canada.
Canada is among the countries with the highest ethnic and religious diversity. Ontario, its largest province with over two million students, has lately been engaged in efforts to free its schools from all kinds of discrimination.
It is a remarkable initiative for the province considering the increase in its hate crimes reports. On June 6, 2021, a Muslim family in Ontario’s London city was murdered in a hate-motivated truck attack during their evening walk near home.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack as an ‘act of terrorist violence,’ during a commemoration to mark the first anniversary of last summer’s deadly attack. He also stressed their commitment and resolve to ensure a better tomorrow and future.
As part of its 2022 funding, Ontario government has allocated a total of CAN$200,000 to support efforts to challenge Islamophobia in its public education system.
“We have one message to racist bullies in our schools: it ends now,” said Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education. “Senseless attacks and hateful rhetoric against Canadians of the Islamic faith – including students and staff – underscore why we are taking further action to counter Islamophobic narratives in culture, online, and in the classroom.”
He also emphasized their partnerships with Muslim-led organizations to fight racism and empower students and families against hatred and discrimination.
The provincial government granted CAN$150,000 to the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) to support development of digital resources for educators, newcomer students, and parents, such as web-based courses, training modules, and videos.
Last year, MAC also received CAN$225,000 as part of the Safe Return to Class fund to inform educators, students and parents about Islam, and help combat Islamophobia, racism, and discrimination.
Thanks to the funding, the organization launched a new website late last year named www.IslamAwareness.ca, which has online courses, workshops, videos, and infographics to raise awareness among school staff and students about Islamophobia.
An additional funding of CAN$50,000 was directed to the Naseeha Youth Helpline for this school year to counsel Muslim students as well as racialized students, parents, and families during the pandemic.
Under its Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate (ARAH) Grant, Ontario government also collaborates with the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), London Muslim Mosque (LMM) and Islamic Relief Canada. The grant program invests in projects that increase public education, understanding and awareness of the impacts of racism and hate.
University student. She likes to read books, see new places and try different flavors.