Several residents in a southwest Edmonton neighbourhood say they are appalled by anti-Islam flyers being dropped off in their mailboxes.
Gerald Johns lives in the Richfield neighbourhood and said he found a flyer in his mailbox Thursday.
“I was really disappointed. This is circulating in the neighbourhood,” he said. “I think it has to be known that there’s still a lot of hate going on and something’s got to be done about it.”
With the words #BANISLAM at the bottom, the flyer refers to the religion as a “delusional seventh-century cult.”
“Islam is the only religion that has to retain its membership by formally threatening to kill anyone who leaves. This is according to the example set by Muhammad,” the flyer reads in part.
“Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, had people killed for insulting him or for criticizing his religion. This included women.”
Johns said he’s spoken with several of his neighbours who also received the flyer within the past week or so. He said he’s concerned to see something like this circulating in the area.
“Normally it’s a pretty good neighbourhood, people are very tolerant of each other. I see and hear no issues. With this going around, hopefully there is not going to be any more issues,” he said.
Area councillor Mike Nickel was “appalled” by the flyer and said the city will reach out to the community league and local mosque to ensure they feel safe in their own neighbourhood.
“I think 99.9 per cent of us in this city would say this is just a deplorable act,” Nickel said. “It’s bigotry in its worst form and it’s intolerance in its worst form and that’s not a Canadian value… it’s certainly not Edmonton values.”
The incident follows the discovery of an anti-Sikh poster at the University of Alberta last month and an anti-Muslim poster at the University of Calgary earlier this week.
One Edmonton researcher who has been informally documenting cases like this over the past couple of years said there seems to be an increase in the number of incidents occurring.
“There is definitely a massive impact when you have individuals who may fear being in their homes or going outside in the evening or attending public spaces or feel in violation in their own private space,” Kaitlin Lauridsen, with the Centre for Race and Culture, said.
“We definitely need to take a stance and say, ‘this is unacceptable’ and show that this type of language and actions aren’t acceptable.”
It’s a sentiment Nickel echoes.
“We’ll just have to double our efforts and keep digging that ditch and educating people that, you know what? This is just not acceptable,” Nickel said.
There is a website at the bottom of the flyer but it’s not known at this time if the group is responsible for making and distributing them. No contact information for the groups is listed.
Edmonton police would not comment on the flyers.
The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council said it was aware of the flyers but would not comment further on them.