After launching its Islamophobia reporting hotline more than a year ago, the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) has found itself fielding both legitimate and disturbingly derogatory calls.
The hotline opened in late March 2016 and since that time, has received around 400 calls. At least 15 of them were Islamophobic taunts.
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“I think there is a perception amongst some members of the population that Islamophobia is a myth, it’s concocted, it’s a created fantasy,” said Aurangzeb Qureshi, AMPAC’s vice-president of communications.
“We wanted to show that this is real.”
Four audio recordings were released to Global News. AMPAC says they are actual unedited messages left on its hotline.
“I’m not going to change my ways just ’cause you guys want us to, and this traitor government,” begins one recording. “You better think again. You started something that you have no idea what’s comin’.’”
Another message: “Yeah, take a message to Trudeau. Islam doesn’t belong on this continent.”
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Some calls are both Islamophobic and homophobic in nature.
One audio recording was so laden with profanity, if censored, it would be unclear, with very few words remaining.
“It’s obviously very cryptic and very scary,” Qureshi said.
“I mean, you’re hearing these people’s voices on the phone. And especially people who are talking about being locked and loaded — involving guns and shooting people — wanting you dead for no reason other than you follow a specific religion.”
READ MORE: Islamophobia hotline in Alberta sees ‘significant jump’ in calls
On average, the hotline used to receive one call a day. Qureshi said that number rose to three or four calls a day after the U.S. election.
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In the meantime, AMPAC is scheduled to hold a fundraising event featuring author, lawyer and commentator Arsalan Iftikhar on May 6. Iftikhar has been widely acclaimed for his book Scapegoats: How Islamophobia Helps Our Enemies and Threatens Our Freedoms.
Global News Morning anchor Shaye Ganam will be emceeing the event.