Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, has released the following statement in honour of Islamic Heritage Month:
“October is Islamic Heritage Month – a time to honour and reflect on the contributions of Muslim Canadians and learn about the history of Islam in Canada.
“Muslims are a diverse group of people who follow Islam, one of the largest and most widespread religions in the world. They have been a part of Canada’s history since the 1850s, before Confederation. Today, there are more than 80,000 Muslims living in B.C. and Islam is the second-largest religion in Canada.
“While this month is a time for learning and celebration, it also presents an opportunity to reflect on the issues that Muslims face in British Columbia, Canada and around the world. In 2021, the number of police-reported hate crimes against Muslims increased by 71% nationally.
“Racism and Islamophobia are deadly issues that continue to hurt Muslims in big and small ways in communities throughout the province. But it can’t be addressed in isolation. We all have a role to play. This month is an opportunity to recommit to tackling Islamophobia and all forms of hate to build a safer, more inclusive society.
“Our government is committed to dismantling systemic racism and discrimination. The Anti-Racism Data Act will help identify systemic barriers faced by Indigenous, Black and people of colour when accessing government programs and services. We’re also supporting anti-racism work at the community level by investing in the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network. And we’re developing an anti-racism action plan for kindergarten to Grade 12 to improve learning experiences for racialized students and equip teachers with the tools to better identify and address systemic barriers for Indigenous, Black and students of colour in our education system. By teaching young people about racism and inclusion, we’re empowering future generations to create a better, anti-racist B.C. for everyone.
“As we celebrate Islamic Heritage Month this month, I encourage you to take the time to participate in local cultural events and learn more about the resiliency and strength of Muslim Canadians in B.C. and around the world.”