Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada increased by 253 percent between 2012 and 2015, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.
In 2012, just 45 hate crimes against Muslims were reported by police. By 2015, the number shot up to 159. Overall, hate crimes in Canada increased by 5 percent in 2015, largely due to "incidents targeting certain religious and ethno-cultural groups, specifically the Muslim population and Arabs or West Asians," the report says.
Between 2014 and 2015 alone, hate crimes targeting Muslims increased by nearly 67 percent.
While many have focused on the growing Islamophobia in Canada's southern neighbor, the United States, particularly under the administration of President Donald Trump, Canadian Muslims are pointing out that their country has its own problem to deal with.
"The media narrative has focused more on the religion aspect and also this sort of American political thing," Chelby Marie Daigle, the editor-in-chief of Muslim Link, an Ottawa community newspaper told Global News.
"If we actually take a closer look, when you realize this has been happening since 2012, this is very homegrown. This is not something we can put on the U.S. It has to do with our own political rhetoric," she said.
The bitter reality of Islamophobia in Canada became all too real in January of this year, when a white supremacist terrorist attacked a mosque in Quebec during prayer time. Six worshipers were left dead following the attack and 19 were wounded.
Alexandre Bissonnette, the 27-year-old terrorist, was arrested and charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder. In response to the senseless violence, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it "an act of terror committed against Canada, and against all Canadians."
Thousands of Canadians, including Trudeau, attended a public funeral for three of the victims, showing the world what solidarity with Muslims looks like.
"Our country was united," Trudeau said at the funeral. "It is an entire country that is joining the families of the victims."
"Together, we will rise from this darkness stronger, more unified, than ever before," he said.
Trudeau rose to power in November of 2015, and formed the most diverse cabinet in Canada's history. Since taking office, he has often been seen to champion and embrace diversity, particularly in contrast to Trump in the U.S.
But despite the rosy image promoted by Trudeau and others, the hate crime statistics demonstrate that there is certainly more work to be done.