Canada’s Muslim community calls for action as conference on Islamophobia begins

Event comes more than a month after anti-Muslim attack left four dead in London, Ontario

Londoner's attend a vigil for the victims of the deadly vehicle attack on five members of the Canadian Muslim community in London, Ontario, Canada, June 8, 2021. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday labeled as a "terrorist attack" the killing of four members of a Muslim family, who were run down by a man driving a pick-up truck. "This killing was no accident. This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities," Trudeau said during a speech at the House of Commons. The suspect, identified as Nathaniel Veltman, 20, was arrested shortly after the June 6 attack, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. / AFP / Nicole OSBORNE

Leaders from Canada’s Muslim and Jewish communities are gathering in Ottawa for a two-day conference on Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims has published 61 recommendations for all levels of Canadian government to help end Islamophobia and racism.

Among the council's requests are to appoint a special envoy on Islamophobia, to challenge Bill 21 — a Quebec law that bars public servants from wearing religious symbols — and to establish a federal strategy to end Islamophobia by the end of the year.

In June, a man rammed his pickup truck into a Muslim family in London, Ontario, killing four and severely injuring a child.

The attack came four years after a man walked into a mosque in Quebec City and killed six worshippers.

More Muslims have been killed in targeted hate attacks in Canada than in any other G7 country in the past five years due to Islamophobia, the council stated in their pre-conference report.

The event will bring together religious leaders, academics, activists and politicians.

“Our government knows that we need to keep having these conversations to accelerate our work to combat systemic racism in Canada,” said Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth, in a statement released this month.

“As we work to build a safer and consciously more inclusive society, we will continue to listen to the lived experiences of communities affected by racism and hate.”

Wednesday’s portion of the conference will focus on combating anti-Semitism. On Thursday, the focus will shift towards curbing Islamophobia.

Updated: July 22nd 2021, 7:39 AM