On November 18, the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) unveiled its MAC Islam Awareness platform to combat Islamophobia during a virtual meeting with Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, and Kaleed Rasheed, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville and Associate Minister of Digital Government.
The government ministers expressed confidence in the culturally responsive pedagogy and support for releasing the platform to Ontario students, parents, and educators.
The digital platform will consist of massive open online courses (MOOCs) that will be publicly available and is meant to address Islamophobia in educational institutions as well as workshops, videos, and infographics to equip educators with engaging content for students and the community.
“It's meant to be a very easy access, practical and concise resource for educators, community leaders, and anybody that is willing to address Islamophobia within the sphere of education,” said Memona Hossain, a Director at MAC. “These resources and this capacity to develop MOOCs gives us the ability to cater to different demographics and this gives us the ability to do it across the country and other spaces. We always dream big and want to do more by connecting with community needs wherever it’s possible.”
In June, the Ontario government provided $225,000 to the Muslim Association of Canada to create digital resources for educators, students and parents to raise awareness about Islamophobia.
The resources are meant to provide information about Islamic practices, values and misconceptions, root causes of Islamophobia and ways to help end Islamophobia, racism and discrimination.
According to the most up to date data from Statistics Canada, hate crimes have been on the rise in Canada, with a nine per cent increase in anti-Muslim attacks in 2019, when compared to the previous year. Tragic and disturbing reports and incidents across Canada and the world over the past years underscore the need for action.
“It is unacceptable that many Muslim students continue to face discrimination in our schools, on our playgrounds and in communities across this country,” said Minister Lecce in making the June announcement. “That is why we are investing and partnering with community leaders — who are leading this effort— to counter racism and better support Ontario’s Muslim students and their families. For Premier Ford, Minister Rasheed and myself, we believe in our core that every student deserves to feel safe, respected, and engaged in learning in inclusive classrooms.”
Ontario also provided $75,000 to the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) to facilitate outreach and engagement with Muslim parents and families, with a focus on newcomer communities.
The engagements will provide information on school supports and will provide culturally relevant resources to enhance well-being for families and help Muslim students prepare for the return to school in September.