Residents in Hamilton, Ont., confront ‘anti-Muslim bigot’ in viral video
WATCH ABOVE: After last week’s shooting in Ottawa, a group of Mississauga men travelled to Hamilton to test the tolerance of bus riders there.
TORONTO – Three young filmmakers from the Greater Toronto Area set out to expose any prejudice against Muslims’ following last weeks’ attack in Ottawa, but ended up filming Canadian tolerance in action.
In a video posted to YouTube, Omar Albach and his two friends created a “social experiment” where one actor dressed in traditional Islamic clothing would be confronted by another “racist” actor at a bus stop and ask him to step out of line over fears he’s a possible terrorist.
The video has gone viral, receiving more than 250,000 views since it was posted Monday.
In the video, as the “racist” actor asks “the Muslim man” to take the next bus because of what he’s wearing, one bystander immediately objects to the racism and comes to his defence.
“You know what? You can’t stereotype and judge people by their clothes,” said the unidentified man. “What happened (in Ottawa), it was an incident of fanatics.”
Another bystander said the heckling actor could just as likely be a terrorist as “the Muslim man.”
A woman asked to think of the recent shooting in Ottawa that killed Canadian soldier Nathan Cirillo responds: “It was awful and tragic, but I don’t think that’s any reason to persecute some just because of what they’re wearing.”
As “the social experiment” continues one member of the crowd becomes so angered he punches the heckling actor in the face. The video ends with the actor bleeding from his nose and talking to police.
“Social media is very powerful and it changes people’s perspectives on things,” Albach, an 18-year-old York University student, told Global News. “I don’t think Canada was this tolerant ten years ago, or as tolerant as it is today.”
Albach said during the filming process they didn’t encounter a single negative comment towards the actor dressed in Muslim attire.
The video was posted following the attacks in Ottawa last week where Michael Zehaf-Bibeau gunned down Cpl. Cirillo before making his way to Centre Block on Parliament Hill where he was killed in a shootout with Parliament security.
The video was filmed in Hamilton, Ont. – the home of Cpl. Cirillo, who was laid to rest at a military funeral Tuesday.
Albach, who is born in Canada and of Palestinian descent, said “it’s not fair to be persecuted for what you are wearing, or what you believe” and said he believes his video captures the tolerant views of Canadians.
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