Although Japan and Japanese culture do not have any direct connections to Islam, the NAJC advocates for human rights for all people due to historical experiences of discrimination in Canada.
During the Second World War, Japanese Canadians were forced by the Canadian government to leave their homes and possessions as they were interned in camps in the B.C. Interior, regardless if they were born in Canada or not.
Japanese American activist George Takei expressed alarm at how the proposed U.S. Muslim registry was paralleling the events that led up to the Japanese American internment. Racist and discriminatory literature, including pamphlets and posters, have been distributed in numerous Canadian cities, including several cases within the Lower Mainland: KKK flyers in Abbotsford, anti-Chinese flyers in Richmond, and neo-Nazi posters in New Wesminster.
The NAJC previously issued a warning about the rise of Islamophobia and racism in Canada, following the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Here is the NAJC's statement, released on January 31:
The National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) joins members of our community who have been shaken by the violent attack at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec.
The NAJC sends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed, and we hope for a quick recovery for those who were injured.
“The day before the attack, I was welcomed at a mosque, invited to share a meal, and to learn about the Muslim culture and faith,” says NAJC Vice President, and Chair of the Human Rights Committee, Lorene Oikawa. “It was about inclusion. I am sad and angry to see the hate and violence directed against the Muslim community. It’s not acceptable. We will continue to work with the Muslim community, Indigenous peoples, and other communities to support inclusion and diversity.”
The Japanese Canadian community were once targets of hate and fear mongering. 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the forced uprooting, dispossession, and internment/incarceration of 22,000 innocent, Canadian children, women, and men of Japanese ancestry.
Formed in 1947, the National Association of Japanese Canadians is a non-profit incorporated community organization that represents the Japanese Canadian community, and focuses on human rights and community development.