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Hate crimes in Canada up 47 percent, with Muslims, Jews and blacks most targeted

Mourners gather at a vigil for victims of shooting at a mosque that killed
Mourners gather at a vigil for victims of shooting at a mosque that killed six people in Quebec City on Jan. 30, 2017. -
Amru Salahuddien Anadolu Agency via Getty Images file
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Hate crimes in Canada rose 47 percent in 2017, with incidents targeting Muslim, Jewish and black people accounting for most of the increase, according to recently released figures from the country's statistical agency.

Law enforcement agencies reported that 2,073 hate crimes occurred in 2017, up from 1,409 in 2016. It is the highest increase since comparable data first became available in 2009.

"The extent of the increase in police-reported hate crimes is nothing short of horrendous," Leila Nasr, a spokeswoman for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, told NBC News Tuesday.

The biggest jump was in crimes against Muslims, reported Statistics Canada. Hate crimes targeting religious groups overall accounted for 41 percent of all hate crimes in Canada in 2017.

In one deadly incident in Quebec City, a man opened fire in a mosque in January 2017, killing six people and injuring 19 others.

The 28-year-old gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, was a supporter of French far-right leader Marine Le Pen and President Donald Trump.

Nasr of the Council of Canadian Muslims said hate crimes rose significantly after the mosque attack.

"What we saw during the remainder of that year, and into 2018, was a significant increase in Islamophobia and other kinds of racially-charged hate directed at Muslims -- and at other minorities, too," Nasr said.

There was also an increase in incidents targeting sexual orientation for the second consecutive year, representing 10 percent of all hate crimes in 2017.

Hate crimes data released last month by the FBI showed hate crimes in the United States increased by about 17 percent in 2017.