The family of a nine-year-old girl they say was the subject of a racist slur in a Surrey, B.C., grocery store are speaking out about the incident.
Mourad Kaoufaoui and his wife Melissa White were in the Real Canadian Superstore in Newton with their daughter Aliyah doing Ramadan shopping on Sunday, when they say a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat called the child a “terrorist.”
“All of a sudden, I was facing my wife talking to her and I hear, ‘You f—ing Muslim terrorist.’ And I turned around, and I see the guy looking at my daughter,” he told Global News.
Kaoufaoui confronted the man, a portion of which he filmed and posted on Facebook, he says to raise awareness about racism.
“When it happens to you then you realize this is real and people do think that way towards you and your culture. It’s not right,” he said.
The family was eventually able to get the store manager to call police.
RCMP are gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses, and the investigation is ongoing.
But the incident has left the family rattled.
“I was feeling scared, confused and sad at the same time,” Aliyah said.
“I didn’t know what that meant and I thought it meant something really really bad, so I was sad I was called it.”
White said the confrontation forced her to have a conversation with her daughter she’d hoped not to need at such a young age.
“It was very heartbreaking,” she said.
“Obviously you want to shelter them from any stereotypes that are out there based off your religion or colour or race or anything … but I guess it was necessary, especially in the time we’re living in.”
The family says they’re sharing their story to remind others that racism isn’t something that only happens in other places, and that hatred can happen close to home as well.