Toronto police report surge in hate crimes against Jews, Muslims

By Thomson Reuters Mar 18, 2024 | 12:03 PM

By Wa Lone and KyawSoe Oo

Toronto (Reuters) – The number of antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada’s largest city of Toronto have risen significantly during the war in Gaza that followed Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack inside Israel, Toronto police said on Monday.

Toronto has seen 69 arrests and 173 charges related to hate crimes during this period, police Chief Myron Demkiw said in a statement. Since October 2023, Toronto has witnessed 203 confirmed hate crimes, a 93% rise from a year ago, the statement added.

Demkiw said hate crime calls dropped in December and January, but then picked up in February, rising 67%. Of the 84 hate crimes so far in 2024, 56% are antisemitic, Demkiw said.

The second highest bias category this year are hate crimes targeting the 2SLGBTQI+ communities, followed by anti-Black, and anti-Muslim/Arab/Palestine, Demkiw added.

The latest conflict between Israel and Palestine started on Oct 7, when Hamas fighters stormed into Israel, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages according to Israeli tallies. Since then, Israel’s assault has killed more than 31,000 Gazans, according to Palestinian health officials.

“While underreporting of all forms of hate crimes is a concern, I know from talking to people in the community that Islamophobia is a significant concern, and given our statistics I am concerned about significant under-reporting in this regard,” Demkiw told reporters.

(Reporting by Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo)