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October 12, 2001
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Complaints of harassment of
Muslims rising in Montreal

Ajit Jain in Toronto

Montreal police have received about 95 complaints of harassment and physical assaults from Muslims and members of the local Arab community in the past one month.

Commander Andre Durocher of Montreal Security Police said that many of these complaints involved racist remarks and gestures or physical assaults.

He said in one case, a man removed the hijab of a Muslim woman. In another case, an Arab was assaulted in an elevator.

Following the September 11 terror attacks in the US, Montreal police have established a central command to keep a watch over the entire city.

Risking a backlash, some members of Canada's Arab and Muslim communities are speaking out against the US-led military action in Afghanistan.

"We're perceived as the enemy and as responsible collectively," said Jehad Aliweiwi, executive director of the Canadian Arab federation. "And now we're seen as guilty because we don't support the bombing (of Afghanistan). It's a frightening position to be in."

They have, of course, strongly condemned the airplane hijackings and suicide crashes, but to some bombings in Afghanistan have caused anxiety.

"There is a prevailing feeling that a military campaign is not going to result in anything," Aliweiwi said.

Since September 11, some dark-skinned Canadians have experienced physical and verbal attacks, some Muslim and even Hindu religious places have been damaged, and women, wearing hijab, are being harassed.

The War on Terrorism: The Complete Coverage

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External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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