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Toronto group plans to counter anti-Muslim protest

City Hall set to be a clashing ground this weekend between two groups with opposing views on Islam.

Toronto has been a scene of protests in support of Muslims and other marginalized communities since the election of Donald Trump.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

Toronto has been a scene of protests in support of Muslims and other marginalized communities since the election of Donald Trump.

A makeshift movement has sprung up in Toronto to wage love and oppose anti-Muslim sentiments.

Under the umbrella of the Organizing Committee Against Islamophobia, dozens of organizations are planning to storm city hall this Saturday with messages of inclusion, support, love and diversity.

It’s a counter-protest to an anti-Islam rally also being organized on the same day by the self-styled Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizen. The group claims to be fighting for freedom and justice and to stand against Sharia Law, but critics say it’s simply an attempt to incite violence against Muslims.

“They are using the pretence of free speech to spread hate and intolerance against Muslims, immigrants and refugees,” said Sarah Ali, one of the organizers of the counter-protest.

“We are an anti-oppressive committee and we just want to show that things like white supremacy, fascism and Islamophobia are never going to be tolerated by our communities in Toronto.”

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Anti-Muslim incidents have been rampant both in Toronto and across the country, especially in the aftermath of the January terror attack that killed six people inside a Quebec mosque.

Last month a small group of protesters disrupted prayers at a downtown mosque, with signs and messages calling for the ban on Islam.

Ali said the words and actions of such groups “are violent in nature,” and it’s worrying that they can find a platform in Toronto or anywhere else.

“They exist because of things like anti-terrorism legislation,” she said, referring to controversies around Bill C-51, the barbaric and cultural practices act and other federal laws around national security and privacy.

“People who want to spread hate now feel emboldened to do so in public. It is unacceptable.”  

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