Warning: The contents of this story may be disturbing.
A B.C. Muslim outreach group is sharing video of an anti-Islam tirade this past weekend in an attempt to educate others about bigotry.
Members of the Bridging Gaps Foundation were on the streets of downtown Vancouver over the weekend as part of their Meet a Muslim initiative, which offers the public a chance learn more about Islam.
During the outreach, a woman approached the group and started verbally abusing them, swearing and unleashing a racist rant.
“We tried to engage in a conversation, try to hear out, answer some of her questions if she would like to have them answered and when we were unable to resolve the conflict, we requested her to leave,” Bridging Gaps Foundation program manager Adnan Akiel said.
Akiel said the group called police and recorded some of the woman’s comments as evidence.
They decided to share the video on social media, saying the only way to counter misconceptions about Islam is through education.
In the video, a woman is asked if she had a message to share with Muslims. She responded, “F–k you. Get on the plane and go home.”
Vancouver police said they received a report Sunday about someone insulting three people who had set up an information stand on Robson Street to raise awareness about Islamophobia. Officers responded but the subject of the complaint had left the area and could not be located.
Police say the incident is being reviewed by their hate crimes investigation team.
Akiel said it is not uncommon for the group to hear anti-Muslim comments, but it’s rare for someone to be this verbally aggressive.
“Oftentimes people would come up and… they would have some questions or they would express their discomfort by the presence of Muslims in Canada but we are able to resolve the conflict,” he said.
“We understand that this woman is not a representation of Canada. She is not a representation of non-Muslims in general who have questions about Islam.”
Akiel called the incident “disheartening,” but said it won’t deter the group from engaging in genuine, two-way conversations about their faith.
“A conversation means that we open up our hearts, our minds to understand,” he said. “I think once that is done, we can disagree, but we can live in coexistence.”
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