New mobile app another tool in the fight against Islamophobia

A new app to tackle Islamophobic incidents has launched nationwide. As CityNews' Jazan Grewal reports, it's a proactive tool designed to spread awareness and combat hate.

With reported hate crimes across the country on the rise since the Israel-Hamas war began over 100 days ago, one national agency is stepping in the help one community have a space to turn to when they feel targeted.

A mobile application called IMIRT – Islamophobia-Motivated Incident Reporting Tool – has been launched to create a safer and more inclusive community. It comes on the heels of a concerning spike in violent Islamophobic incidents across the country.

“We created this app with our partners, and thanks to a grant from the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and with our partners at the National Council of Canadian Muslims, where we can help the Muslim community to report these incidents,” said Imam Ibrahim Hindy of the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre, who notes that underreporting remains a major issue. “If they’re not sure if they should be reported, they have the ease of just being able to do it on their phone and it’s reported within the community.”

“It’s a really good step because right across Canada, what we are hearing is many victims of hate including those within the Muslim communities are not always comfortable to go to the police,” said Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s representative on combatting Islamophobia. “So having this third-party application where people will feel more comfortable to come forward is very important.”

Mohammed Hashim, the executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation says the application is not just about numbers, but a way to foster safety within the community.

“This app will hopefully give us a picture – a better picture – of where incidents are happening so that we can find trends and be able to highlight that when conversations with law enforcement or with the community themselves.”

Since the war in the Middle East, Toronto police have reported a significant spike in hate crime incidents. Between October 7, 2023, and January 10, 2024, police have made 54 arrests and laid 117 charges in connection with hate crime occurrences. Police say they have received more than 145 web submissions to date since launching the Hate Graffiti Web Form.

Since October 7, police say antisemitic incidents are up 168 per cent from the same period last year, with an increase of 23 per cent more anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian anti-Arab incidents reported compared to 12 per cent the year prior.

Earlier this month the provincial government announced that it’s investing $1.7 million over two years through the Safer and Vital Communities Grant program to help combat an increase in hate crimes being experienced across Ontario. the SVC Grant is open to community-based, not-for-profit organizations and First Nation Band Councils.

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