Post-Ottawa shooting, residents scrub off hate messages on Canadian mosque
Hate racist acts? This is the story of how one Canadian town fought back - with a dose of love.
Residents of the small Canadian city of Cold Lake gathered on Friday (Oct 24) to scrub away hate messages painted on the walls of a mosque.
The building was spray-painted with graffiti reading “Go home”. Its windows were also smashed.
In place of the vitriol, the residents put up posters reading “Love your neighbour” and “You are home.”
Cold Lake - a town over 3,200 km away from Ottawa the city where the lone gunmen stormed a parliament building last week, is home to a Canadian air base that deployed fighter jets against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Iraq.
By Friday afternoon, the community volunteers had removed the spray paint, fixed the windows and taped their posters up.
“These guys are peaceful," Cold Lake resident Matt Downy said as he brought a vase of flowers to the mosque.
"And I think it’s important for the community to show them that we know the difference between extremists and a religion.”
Imam Syed Soharwardy, founder of Muslims Against Violence in Calgary, told reporters that the vandalism revealed “how fragile the situation can be if it is not properly managed.”
Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau on Saturday condemned the incident. “The vandals who carried out these acts are criminals and cowards,” Trudeau said, “and their actions run counter to basic Canadian values.”
The battle of words playing out on the facade of the Cold Lake Mosque follows two separate deadly attacks on Canadian soldiers last week by extremist Muslim converts, one of which spilled into Canada’s parliament building.
Sources: Reuters, Twitter