A family of Syrian refugees woke up Thursday morning to a disturbing sight in the northeast Calgary community of Rundle: their vehicle had been vandalized.
It was covered with hateful messages targeting Islam and “Arabs.”
The SUV was keyed, dented and the back window was smashed.
“When I opened the window, I saw the car and read some bad words,” Asmaa told Global News. “I feel very scared.”
Asmaa and her family came to Calgary a year-and-a-half ago. They’ve had to start a whole new life, which has included learning a new language and meeting new friends.
They never expected they would be the target of hate in Canada.
“I saw this word [and] I think that people who live here don’t want Muslims to live in Canada,” she said.
Calgary police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Investigators said the residents who live where the SUV was parked were targeted “due to their ethnicity.” No other vehicles on the street were damaged.
“When people are targeted with vandalism and hateful messages, it has a big impact on how safe they feel in the community,” senior const. Craig Collins said.
“We take it very seriously and will pursue the people responsible to try to prevent other families from being victimized in the same way, simply because of their ethnicity or religion.”
The co-founder of the Calgary Syrian Refugee support group said the impact of these crimes is far-reaching.
“This is completely unacceptable and as a community, we need to voice it out … that acts like this will not be tolerated in our community,” Saima Jamal said.
Police said graffiti targeting certain people based on ethnicity or religion has been occurring more regularly in Calgary.
This is the seventh investigation into hateful graffiti launched this year, including a recent high-profile case in a Ranchlands park.
Anyone with information on the Rundle incident is asked to call Calgary police at 403-266-1234 or contact Crime Stoppers.
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