Legislature rally on International Women's Day organized in solidarity of targeted Black, Muslim women
EDMONTON -- On International Women's Day, people will gather at the Alberta legislature in support of Muslim women, some of whom have been the victims of recent racist and hateful attacks in Edmonton.
The capital city's Amnesty International chapter is organizing the event, but says it is possible few Muslim women will be in attendance.
"Our Muslim friends and colleagues have told us they will not feel safe attending," chair Kim Thorsen told CTV News Edmonton.
"The fact that local Muslim women do not feel safe standing in front of the provincial legislature should be sobering to all of us, especially our government."
Since early December, at least five Muslim women have been attacked or threatened in the city. All but one were Black. And all happened in very public spaces: one at a mall parking lot, the others at different transit stations.
Thorsen considers the physical attacks evidence of rampant Islamophobia in Alberta.
"That's just it peaking," she said.
"Some people (are) asking the question: Why is it always Black Muslim women on transit? And that comes to the intersectionality of everything," Thorsen commented. "It’s the intersection of Islamophobia, misogyny, class and racism all in one."
Amnesty International is calling on the provincial government to take a stronger stance against white supremacist groups and clarify legislation surrounding hate crimes, and for police to investigate hate crimes in accordance with recommendations from the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
"It is not up to them (victims) to fix this problem," Thorsen told CTV News Edmonton. "The problem is coming from people throughout the province and it's up to us to take the steps to make this go away."
The group is limiting its gathering at the legislature on Monday at noon to 10 people to comply with Alberta's public health orders.
International Women's Day 2021's campaign theme is "choose to challenge." The organization is asking participants to recognize their responsibility for their own words and actions and to call out gender bias and inequality.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nahreman Issa