A praiseworthy initiative of Toronto City to eliminate Islamophobia
TORONTO – The fourth largest city in the continent of North America and the economic engine of Canada, the City of Toronto has recently concluded its campaign under Toronto For All program with a spending of $120,000 by displaying three-types of digital posters at over 140 Toronto Transit Commission (TTC)’s Bus and Street Car shelters throughout the city for a month through Astral Media, which boosted a positive impact among the viewers.
Because it is all about Islamophobia, the most discussed topic around the world. But, what is Islamphobia and why?
According to various authors and academics in the Wikipedia, “Islamophobia is the fear of, hatred of, or prejudice against the religion of Islam or Muslims in general, especially when seen as a geopolitical force or a source of terrorism.”
Apparently the rise of Islamophobia surfaced after the tragic ‘nine-eleven’ which caused the destruction of the twin-towers in New York, USA and perished over three thousand human lives of various ethnicities. Since then it spread the entire world. Due to that, many Muslim under influence of predicament they even excluded their grandeur Muhammad names given to them after Prophet Muhammad (SM), the sole guiding ideal to Islam as well as also the widely used name so far.
Let’s focus to the three-types of digital poster displayed on Islamophobia by the City of Toronto under its program called Toronto For All. In its website the City of Toronto expressed that, “Islamophobia targets those who visibly express themselves as Muslims. Islamophobia is fear or hatred of Muslims. This hatred and fear translates into institutional forms of oppression and discrimination against Muslims and individuals perceived as Muslims.
Islamophobia can overlap with racism and anti-immigrant sentiment and can also be expressed through gendered stereotypes about Muslims. Through the 2021 census, 9.6 per cent of Toronto residents identified as Muslim. Let’s accept without exceptions. Together we can end hate and discrimination in our city.”
That powerful message is expressed in those three posters, such as, Faith, Prayer and Hijab and indicated by using a symbolic asterisk. As example, Torontonians Respect Culture*. Then next line says, *But Don’t Respect Her Faith. Similarly two others are – Torontonians Embrace Diversity*; *But Don’t Embrace His Prayer Times and Torontonians Welcome Everyone*; *But Don’t Welcome Her Hijab. Then importantly, at the concluding line in each of these three posters unequivocally says, “Let’s Accept Without Exceptions.”
Undoubtedly, those are reflection and calling of creativity as well as welcoming! And, this campaign was created in partnership with the National Council of Canadian Muslims and with guidance from the: Afghan Women’s Organization, Aga Khan Museum, Arab Community Centre of Toronto, Canada Muslim Counselling, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Hijabi Ballers, Islamic Relief Canada, OCASI, Say Somaali, SMILE Canada, Syrian Canadian Foundation, Toronto Palestinian Film Festival and Urban Alliance on Race Relations.
Incidentally, answering to various questions, the media relations official Bradlee Bomberry of the City of Toronto says, “Toronto For All is a long standing City program, endorsed by Toronto City Council, and this is the 13th ‘Toronto For All’ campaign launched by the City with support and guidance from community partners and organizations. The goal of the ‘Toronto For All’ public education initiative is to generate dialogue amongst Toronto residents to create a city that says no to all forms of discrimination and racism. Previous campaigns have focused on topics including anti-East Asian racism, anti-Black racism, ageism and anti-Semitism which are available at Toronto.ca/TorontoForAll.”
Similarly the media official Fatema Abdalla for the National Council of Canadian Muslims says, “We’ve seen positive feedback, however the City of Toronto (who is evaluating the campaign) will be better suited to answer this question. We don’t have any comments on the opinions of other religious groups on these posters, but are hoping that they served their educational purpose for the wider public.”