On hate crime, look to who stands ac­cused

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - CANADA/WORLD - Vicky Mochama Metro | Toronto

Jewish, Black, Mus­lim, queer — all un­der at­tack in the new hate crime data re­leased Tues­day by Sta­tis­tics Canada. The at­tack­ers, how­ever, are largely uni­form: young and male.

To stop the hate and vi­o­lence that mi­nori­ties face, we have to look at the ones that cause it. Con­fronting the youth and mas­culin­ity of the ac­cused is vi­tal to quash­ing a ris­ing tide of ethno-racial, sex­ual and religious ha­tred. StatsCan’s data shows hate crimes were on the rise by five per cent in 2015. Much of that in­crease is at­trib­ut­able to at­tacks on Mus­lim and West-Asian groups. For this, The Na­tional Coun­cil of Cana­dian Mus­lims points to back­lash from ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Paris but also to the Is­lam­o­pho­bic tenor of the Con­ser­va­tive Party cam­paign dur­ing the 2015 fed­eral elec­tion.

Is­lam­o­pho­bia, how­ever, is not just com­ing from older white peo­ple like Stephen Harper, Kel­lie Leitch and Chris Alexan­der. While theirs is directed at the policy level via “bar­baric cul­tural prac­tices” and de­mands for Mus­lim women to un­veil dur­ing cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­monies, an­tiMus­lim sen­ti­ment is also be­ing acted on by men, and in­creas­ingly, younger ones.

The re­port found 87 per cent of those ac­cused of com­mit­ting hate crimes were men, and just over two-thirds of those ac­cused were men un­der 25. In 2012, men also made up the ma­jor­ity of ac­cused, but there’s been an uptick. In three years, the num­ber of men ac­cused has gone up by 3.5 per cent, and the num­ber of young men has in­creased by 19 per cent.

All over, there’s ev­i­dence of this wor­ry­ing trend.

Al­berta has the sharpest in­crease in hate crimes. The most alarm­ing proof is the pres­ence of a group called the Three Per­cent, an armed anti-Mus­lim group with over 1,600 on­line mem­bers in the prov­ince.

The Sta­tis­tics Canada data ends in 2015, which is ex­actly the point when the Three Per­cent formed. In an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the group, VICE Canada found an all-white, heav­ily armed, anti-Mus­lim group of (mostly) men whose predilec­tion to vi­o­lence is, to many ex­perts, un­prece­dented in Canada.

(Prob­lem­at­i­cally, the StatsCan num­bers ex­clude the race of the ac­cused, though they in­clude the group against whom hate is mo­ti­vated.)

Racial­ized vi­o­lence has been a prob­lem for the en­tirety of Canada’s ex­is­tence. This legacy is be­ing car­ried on by young men like 18-year-old Bray­den Bushby from Thun­der Bay, Ont., who al­legedly threw a metal trailer hitch at Bar­bara Kent­ner, a First Na­tions woman, who was se­verely in­jured in the at­tack.

Men like those in the Three Per­cent and anti-im­mi­gra­tion group the Sol­diers of Odin, and young ones like Bray­den Bushby or in­deed, Alexan­dre Bis­son­nette, the Que­bec mosque shooter, are the causes of vi­o­lence.

If we look away from them, we fail to see their vic­tims.

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