A free and confidential Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline was launched today by Vancouver’s legal community.
“Islamophobia can be experienced in many different ways,” said Sarah Khan, staff lawyer at the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre in a press release. “We have heard reports of harassment, violent attacks, racial profiling, property destruction and threats from across the country. Islamophobia affects everyday Canadians as they go about their lives, their schooling and their work. As a legal community, it is our duty to pull together and ensure that people who affected by this racism are able to protect their rights.”
The hotline will be run by the Access Pro Bono Society of BC, a non-profit organization that assists individuals of limited means to obtain free legal services.
“We want to help empower people to respond to this discrimination by making legal support more easily available,” said Aleem Bharmal, Executive Director of the Community Legal Assistance Society. “Many people who experience this sort of discrimination may not even know that there might be legal options available to respond… We want to make sure people can get the advice that they need.”
The hotline has been set up just months after Syrian refugees were pepper sprayed at a welcome event in Vancouver, and the team behind the hotline says that they will be documenting calls to better understand the scope of the problem in British Columbia.
The hotline number is 604-343-3828 and you can also find out more at islamophobiahotline.ca.