Don't let refugees become scapegoats: anti-racism groups
A Syrian family walks after they arrived with other refugees from Turkey to the shores of the Greek island of Lesbos, on a inflatable dinghy, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Petros Giannakouris)
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, November 19, 2015 1:17PM EST
TORONTO -- As Canada prepares to receive 25,000 Syrian refugees, a coalition of anti-racism groups is calling on all Canadians to ensure those seeking refuge don't become scapegoats for anger over the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Groups including the Canadian Arab Federation and the African-Canadian Legal Clinic are raising their concerns in the wake of an attack on a Muslim woman in Toronto and a fire at a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., that is being investigated as a hate crime.
Mohamed Boudjenane, the acting president of the Canadian Arab Federation, says the refugees heading to Canada are the main victims of terrorist groups.
His colleague, Mohamed El Rashidy, says the people coming to Canada are not asylum seekers, they are refugees, who have already been undergoing screening as they wait in United Nations camps for years.
Debbie Douglas, the executive director of the Ontario Council or Agencies Serving Immigrants, says Canada is "absolutely" ready for an influx of refugees and in Ontario her organization has for months been arranging housing that ranges from low-cost motels to dormitory rooms.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins has also said the province is considering using recently decommissioned hospitals as temporary housing for refugees.