A local group which helped create a newly released guide to navigate and report incidents of hate and discrimination in Waterloo have yet another tool to offer from their growing kit to combat rising incidents of hate and discrimination.
The Coalition of Muslim Women Kitchener Waterloo worked with city staff and other community partners such as the Community Justice Initiatives, as well as the regional police services to create the guide.
The new toolkit includes the Coalition's online "Hate or Discrimination Documentation and Reporting Service", which is accessed at reportinghate.ca and receives hate incident and discrimination reports from across the country.
Sarah Shafiq is the director of programming and services for the Coalition of Muslim Women KW, an organisation which is described on its website as "a small, but mighty group of racialized Muslim women that have been standing up to hate, discrimination, Islamophobia, and gender-based violence since 2010."
Shafiq spoke to CKMS News about the services that the group offers, its partnerships with the city of Waterloo and the regional municipality, and the surge in reports of anti-semitic, anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and Islamophobic incidents reported in the past month. Shafiq also mentions the feelings of disappointment and fear that members of her community are experiencing, bringing up memories of the post 9/11 era of profiling and discrimination.
This recent surge in hate incidents reflects the past several years of data available from both the Coalition of Muslim Women and Statistics Canada. According to Statscan, in 2022 police-reported hate crime incidents in Waterloo Region doubled to 144 events, representing 22.7 incidents per 100,000 of population, more than double the national average of 9.3 incidents per 100,000 of population. These numbers add to the 38% increase in hate crimes reported nationally in 2021, compared to 2020 data.
The 2022 Snap Shot of Hate in Waterloo Region produced by the Coalition of Muslim Women shows a wide gap between the number of police reported hate incidents and the number of actual incidents which take place, with only 10 of 97 incidents that were reported to them ever being reported to the police.
With the new guide, the online reporting tool, and the other services offered by the Coalition of Muslim Women, Shafiq hopes people will be comfortable in reporting incidents of hate and discrimination and be able to access the other services and supports the organization offers.