Canada: Muslim groups call for national day of action against hate
More than 100 community groups across Canada have called on Justin Trudeau's government to designate January 29 a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance, in memory of the victims of a deadly attack on a Canadian mosque on that date last year.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), which spearheaded an open letter sent to the Canadian government on Thursday, said the move would allow all Canadians "to join together in the fight against Islamophobia and hate of all kinds".
Six Muslim men were shot and killed after a gunman opened fire at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City on 29 January 2017.
“As we approach the second anniversary of the attack, we pause to recognise that the racism and hatred that underpinned this attack do not exist in isolation," reads the open letter.
Addressed to Canada's minister of Canadian heritage and multiculturalism, it was signed by dozens of Muslim, interfaith and other community groups across the country.
"Recent attacks against religious, racial and other minorities in Canada have demonstrated beyond any doubt that no one community can combat this hate alone. Rather, as Canadians, we must come together and unite, not only against Islamophobia but against all forms of hate."
The gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, pleaded guilty earlier this year to six counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder in the attack. He has yet to be sentenced but faces life in prison.
The NCCM previously asked the Canadian government to designate 29 January a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.
That demand was met with opposition from some political parties in Quebec, while the federal government in Ottawa was non-committal, saying only that it had received the proposal.
The mosque attack was "the most horrific large-scale expression of the kind of Islamophobia that too many Canadian Muslims face daily," Thursday's letter reads.