Attacks on halal butcher, mosque shock Quebec community

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DTT: When the Canadian environment gets poisoned with words by some politicians and media outlets this is the result you get. A Halal butcher shop and a mosque was vandalised in Quebec, Canada.

One must remember, a person at home does not all of a sudden wake to hurt or break another person’s property because he/she wishes to do so. It all starts with fearmongering, with the toxic words on immigrants and Muslims. When immigrants or Muslims are treated as not “human”, when they are discriminated against, this is when one takes these toxic words and turns them into action.

Words are very dangerous. We urge politicians and the media to be careful how they speak about minorities. Your words have real consequences.


 

by INGRID PERITZ / The Globe and Mail

The Quebec city of Sherbrooke prides itself on its good relations with and welcoming attitude toward immigrants, but acts of vandalism against a halal butcher and a mosque has stoked concerns both in the Muslim community and at city hall.

Abdelbari Souibgui had his shop vandalized three times since August, including twice in the past six weeks; his storefront’s plate glass was pierced by bullet-sized holes and signs reading “Non à l’Islam” (No to Islam) were left outside, along with numerous small paper crosses.

About a 10-minute walk away, the local Muslim cultural centre and mosque also had anti-Islam signs left outside on its property.

“It was a shock,” Bernard Sévigny, the mayor of the Eastern Townships city of 160,000, said on Friday. “People in Sherbrooke are very accepting and open to immigrant communities. This has tarnished that. It’s violence against a community.”

Last week, police arrested 52-year-old Guy Cardinal of Sherbrooke, who faces a hate-related charge of mischief related to religious property. Police believe the incidents at the mosque and butcher shop are linked.

Police seized a number of objects at Mr. Cardinal’s home, including anti-Muslim material and posters reading “Yes to the Charter.” Police believe the holes in the store window were made with a lead projectile attached to a fishing line.

To some members of the local Muslim community, including Mr. Souibgui, the incidents underscore a growing sense of vulnerability since the start of the debate on the Quebec charter of secular values, which has focused attention on head scarves and Muslim immigration by proposing a ban on religious symbols for public servants.

Mr. Souibgui, who arrived with his young family from Tunisia four years ago and moved to Sherbrooke to study for his PhD, says he is installing a video surveillance camera outside his store, the Tiba Halal Butcher and Grocery.

“To me, what happened is one of the consequences of the charter debate. We never saw acts like this before,” he said. “Before I came here, I saw Canada as a welcoming country. This is serious.”

Reports of harassment and insults against Muslims have multiplied in recent months. An informal online survey of Muslim women in the province in December found that of 338 respondents, 300 said they had suffered verbal abuse since the charter controversy began.

 

Read the entire article here theglobeandmail.com

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