Toronto police report staggering rise in hate crimes against Jews, Muslims

A staggering report released by Toronto police show hate crimes continue rising at an alarming rate. Shauna Hunt with the numbers and why Muslim and Jewish community leaders say they are just the tip of the iceberg

Hate crimes in Toronto are occurring at an alarming rate as Toronto police release another set of staggering statistics showing Muslim and Jewish communities continue to be targeted.

“This is a kind of hatred we should never see in Canada,” said Jaime Kirzener-Roberts with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, reacting to the 211 per cent increase in antisemitic incidents reported to police since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out in early October compared to the same time a year ago.

Kirzener-Roberts says they are receiving upwards of 500 emails a day regarding public safety concerns.

“Is it safe for my child to be at school, is it safe to be walking around our neighbourhood, is it safe to have a Menorah in our window,” she says of the questions being asked by the community.

“Jewish kids being told they should go die in a gas chamber, kids being spit at …Jewish children being called baby killers – and we know hateful words lead to hateful deeds.”

Since October 7th, Toronto police have investigated nearly 100 hate crimes – 56 targeted the Jewish community and 20 of those incidents were categorized as anti-Muslim.

Utham Quick with the National Council of Canadian Muslims says what’s actually being documented is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The numbers we are seeing from Toronto police are alarming of course but what we are seeing on our side at NCCM is a lot worse than that,” says Quick.

“I spoke to a Muslim woman who was spat at near a downtown university in Toronto and when she reported the incident to the campus police the experience that she had there dissuaded her from actually reporting it to Toronto police. So what you are seeing is a big disconnect.”

The war is also taking a major toll on mental health with one organization that offers support to Muslims in the GTA reporting a 600 per cent surge in calls to their helpline. Many report anxiety, depression and marginalization in their schools and workplaces.

“The trauma is extremely deep,” said Quick. “What we are seeing now will take generations, literal generations, to be undone from a physiological and traumatic experience.”

Police say since October they have made 43 arrests and laid 96 charges, 17 per cent of those related to assaults.

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