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Legal groups set up hotline to help people who feel discriminated against

Last Updated Mar 9, 2016 at 12:16 pm PST

(Sonia Aslam, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It’s a first for BC — the local legal community has launched an Islamophobia hotline for anyone who feels they’ve been harassed or attacked, but it isn’t just for Muslims.

It’s also for anyone who feels they’re perceived as being Muslim and are being targeted because of that.

“If it’s racially motivated, if it’s motivated based on religious discrimination — we’re going to do our best to try and accommodate all of the people who call the hotline even if the individual is not a Muslim, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to help them,” explains Krisha Dhaliwal with the South Asian Bar Association of BC.

Aleem Bharmal, Executive Director of the Community Legal Assistance Society, says potential hate crimes often go un-reported and this will help them track cases while helping anonymously.

“Many of the victims of Islamophobia may face cultural or language barriers. This hotline will give them better access to legal services and the justice system.”

The phone line is run by the Access Pro Bono Society of BC and service will be provided in several languages.

As for why local lawyers have suddenly launched this initiative — they say Islamophobia has been an issue since 9/11 and feel attacks, recently, are becoming more common.

The number 604-343-3828.