January 12, 2015 2:15 pm
Updated: January 12, 2015 4:16 pm

Hate Crimes Unit investigating after ‘Leave Canada’ spray-painted on Edmonton Sikh temple

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Watch above: A gurdwara in Mill Woods was vandalized this week with the phrase “leave Canada” and a profane, racist comment. Shallima Maharaj has the details. 

EDMONTON – The Edmonton Police Service Hate Crimes Unit (as well as south-east division) is investigating after a Sikh temple was vandalized.

A south Edmonton gurdwara — or Sikh place of worship — had phrases like ‘Leave Canada’ and a profane, racist comment spray-painted on its outside walls.

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“Today we discovered something very deeply saddening to us,” said Harman Singh Kandola, chairman of the gurdwara’s advisory committee, on Friday. “Some graffiti that was put on the wall of the exterior of our facility.”

Two phrases — “Leave Canada” and “F**k Indians” — were spray-painted on the outside of the temple. Members have already started painting over the words.

Kandola says Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha in Mill Woods has been spray-painted in the past. He doesn’t believe this case is connected to the shootings in Paris.

“We’re saddened by it, we’re saddened that they would feel this way, however we believe they may just be misinformed.”

He said the gurdwara has surveillance video that likely shows the culprit, which it will be reviewing.

He added the situation is a “teachable moment” and hopes people will visit the temple and learn what the faith — and culture — is actually all about.

“We would like to use this as an opportunity to invite them to the gurdwara — which is a place that is open to all, of any faith and any background — to learn more about the Sikhs and who we are.”

The gurdwara runs a community kitchen that offers free meals to anyone who wants to attend.

“The Sikhs are a community that believes in equality… We believe in coexisting with everyone… working hard and giving back.”

Initially, Kandola said they didn’t plan on pursuing any charges, but after community members voiced their concerns, the executive committee filed a police report which EPS received late Friday evening. Police were scheduled to speak with temple representatives Monday.

In October, a Cold Lake mosque was vandalized; “Go Home” spray-painted on the side of the building.

The city quickly rallied together to remove the offensive statements and replaced them with signs saying “Love Your Neighbour” and “You are Home.”

UPDATE: This article was originally published on Jan. 9. It was updated on Jan. 12 to include information about the Hate Crimes Unit investigating.

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