Muslim leaders urge government to help protect mosques, schools

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SHAFAQNA – Statistics Canada report last week showed hate crimes targeting Muslims rose by 60 per cent across the country in 2015, but applications for government funding for protection often rejected.

Some Muslim community leaders are urging the federal government to do more to help protect their mosques and schools amid an increase in hate crimes.

A Statistics Canada report last week showed hate crimes targeting Muslims rose by 60 per cent across the country in 2015.

“It’s quite concerning the number of reports that have been coming in,” said Amira Elghawaby, a spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Muslims. “At our organization, we have definitely seen a spike just in the last week of people reporting to us.”

In April, Public Safety Canada announced it would double its annual funding for the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program from $1 million to $2 million over each of the next five years.

The program allows not-for-profit groups linked to a community at risk of being victimized by hate crimes to apply for funding to help pay the costs of security improvements at places of worship, schools and community centres. Approved applicants can receive up to half the total project costs from the government to a maximum of $100,000 per project.

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