New B.C. phone line aims to tackle Muslim discrimination

Original CKNW article

Legal groups in B.C. are tackling rising rates of Muslim discrimination by introducing the Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline.

The hotline will offer free legal aid to those experiencing faith-related hate crimes, which are on the rise, according to lawyer Hasan Alam who helped create the hotline.

He says it will also help Syrian refugees settling into a new country, where they may not always feel welcome.

“These people are coming into our country already so marginalized. They speak very little English, do not know much about, you know, how to go about accessing our legal system, and many of them are cautious about calling law enforcement agencies because of their precarious citizenship status. So providing something that’s confidential and easy to access and offered in multiple languages is of great importance.”

Sarah Khan of the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre says they’ve heard reports of harassment, violent attacks, racial profiling, property destruction and threats from across the country.

The Hotline number is 604-343-3828, and a website with more information has been set up at www.islamophobiahotline.ca.