The Anglican Church of Canada joined more than 50 other organizations—some religious, some secular—in a joint statement against hate released by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), an advocacy group for Canadian Jewish groups, Sunday, August 27.
“We refuse to be silent in response to the horrible events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, and acts of hate that have been perpetrated here in Canada—including incidents of bigoted graffiti, the dissemination of racist propaganda, and white nationalist rallies,” reads the statement, which was drafted by the CIJA with input from a number of signatories. “Now more than ever, it is clear that white supremacy, antisemitism, homophobia, anti-Muslim prejudice, bigotry against Indigenous peoples, and all forms of hate are inextricably linked and must be opposed with legal and nonviolent means by all people of good will.”
One person was killed and dozens were injured August 12 after a car rammed into a crowd of demonstrators protesting the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Signatories also pledge their solidarity with communities targeted in recent white nationalist rallies. “An attack against any minority is nothing less than an assault on Canada’s democratic values and a threat to our entire society,” the statement adds.
The statement also calls on all levels of government in Canada to review their laws and policies having to do with hate and hate crime, and make changes including:
- Putting guidelines in place for collecting and publishing data on hate crime and hate-fuelled incidents;
- Establishing programs for training the public, police and prosecutors for “more consistent and effective enforcement of hate speech laws”;
- Creating “hate crime units” in some police agencies; and
- Coming up with new ways of monitoring and fighting the spread of hate-fuelled propaganda.
The signatories include Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, African-Canadian, Chinese-Canadian, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender, Queer/Questioning) and student groups.
In a prepared statement, Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the CIJA, said his group was “humbled” by the support for the declaration voiced by the diverse mix of signatory groups. “At this challenging time, those of us who work in human rights and anti-discrimination advocacy must unite and raise our voices against those who peddle hate,” Fogel said.
“As we saw in Charlottesville, antisemitism goes hand-in-hand with white supremacy and other forms of bigotry,” he said.
“While we know the vast majority of Canadians reject these toxic ideologies, recent events remind us to be vigilant and assertive in countering hate movements. Building on today’s declaration, we will continue working with our friends in other communities to fight hate—through legal measures, outreach to government, and by exercising our freedom of speech.”
Earlier this month, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, called for prayers after the Charlottesville attack and signs of increased racial tension in Canada.
Hiltz also urged Anglicans to work for a more peaceful world and to be “united, courageous and unwavering in denouncing racialized violence of every kind.”