Canada: New website seeks to combat Islamophobia
By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA): A website that hopes to curtail anti-Muslim attitudes among teachers and students went online Thursday in Canada.
Islamawareness.ca was developed by the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) and is targeted toward classrooms in Ontario, Canada’s largest province with a student population of more than 2 million.
The Ontario government provided a CAN$225,000 ($175,000) grant to the project.
Three courses, four workshops and six hours of instructional video are available through the website and MAC’s Memona Hossain said the goal is to combat Islamophobia in students and have them carry that forward into adulthood.
“Our hope is that this type of work will inform long-term change, not just short term,” Hossain told the Canadian Press. It is an ambitious project that gathered steam as the website was constructed.
“The outcome of this project far exceeds the original scope and offers very easy access, practical, and concise resources for educators, students, parents and anybody that is willing to address Islamophobia within the sphere of education,” MAC’s Executive Director Sharaf Sharafeldin said in a statement.
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said attacks on Muslims, including the murder of four members of a family who were run down in a deliberate act in London, Ontario last summer and other verbal and physical attacks highlighted the need for Islamophobia education.
“That is why we are investing and partnering with community leaders — who are leading this effort — to counter racism and better support Ontario’s Muslim students and their families,” he said in a statement.
Hossain said the website has received kudos from educators who are planning to use it for classroom instruction.
“We’ve also been getting some good feedback, hearing that they are ready to use this in their classrooms, that they are sharing this with their colleagues,” she said.
The MAC is a non-profit organization that has representation in 13 Canadian cities.
[Map of Canada by CIA/Public Domain]