Syrian spokeswoman says pepper-spray attack doesn’t reflect Canadians’ views
Friday night’s incident.
“To be honest, Canadian people would not do this, the majority of them,” Kurdi said. “They are big supporters to the refugees.”
A large group was gathered outside a Muslim Association of Canada centre during an event for newly arrived Syrian refugees last Friday around 10:30 p.m. when a man on a bicycle rode by and pepper sprayed about 15 people, said Vancouver police spokesman St. Randy Fincham.
Fincham said the force is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Canada’s Immigration Minister John McCallum described it as an “isolated incident” that won’t tarnish the country’s migrant-friendly reputation.
The world recognizes that Canada is very welcoming to refugees, and that message will continue to resonate, said McCallum.
Canada has been praised on the world stage for its pledge to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next month, and a photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming migrants at the airport was published around the world.
McCallum said his government utterly condemns the pepper spraying and says Syrian refugees have no reason to feel unsafe in Canada.
“I think that the experience that the vast majority of them have, of being welcomed at the airport, and given what they need, clothing and hats and boots, and large numbers of welcoming Canadians ... I think that sent a very clear message,” he said.
“I think that experience shared by so many of the refugees is going to easily trump this one isolated incident.”
VPD Chief Constable Adam Palmer addresses the media during a news conference in Vancouver Saturday. Palmer was addressing a incident which occurred Friday night outside the Muslim Association of Canada where a man pepper sprayed a group of men, women and children.