UCP slams racist let­ter to mosque

PressReader - BRUCE_CAROL_ROWE Channel - UCP slams racist let­ter to mosque
An anti-racism ad­vo­cacy group is call­ing on the United Con­ser­va­tive Party to con­demn Is­lam­o­pho­bia af­ter an Ed­mon­ton mosque re­ceived a hate­ful let­ter that in­cluded the po­lit­i­cal party’s logo.“On be­half of real Al­ber­tans, we would like to ad­vise you that you and your re­li­gion don’t be­long here in Al­berta,” said the let­ter dated Jan. 30.“We are White. We are Chris­tians. We are Proud,” the let­ter con­tin­ued. “Our Premier to be Jason Ken­ney is go­ing to take Al­berta back. So adapt if you want to stay (sic).”The let­ter was dropped off at the Markaz Ul Is­lam mosque in south­east Ed­mon­ton some time in the last few days. The is­sue has been re­ported to the Ed­mon­ton Po­lice Ser­vice hate crime unit, said pres­i­dent of the Al­berta Mus­lim Af­fairs Coun­cil (AMPAC) Faisal Suri.He noted that the ver­sion of the let­ter he posted on Twit­ter re­moved some of the in­flam­ma­tory and hate­ful lan­guage be­cause he felt it wasn’t ap­pro­pri­ate for pub­lic con­sump­tion.“We know … the United Con­ser­va­tive Party is def­i­nitely not di­rectly in­volved in these things,” he said in an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day.In a Face­book post, UCP leader Jason Ken­ney said that ha­tred and big­otry have no place in Al­berta.“All Al­ber­tans must be free to prac­tice their faith in peace,” he wrote. “To the ig­no­rant fool who sent this let­ter, you’d best look at my long-stand­ing work in plu­ral­is­tic outreach, in­clud­ing all races, re­li­gions and creeds.”

‘TOL­ER­ANT PARTY’

He said it’s clear the let­ter is from a small group of mis­cre­ants.“In fact, I wouldn’t be com­pletely sur­prised if the UCP logo was de­lib­er­ately used in this let­ter in or­der to smear our big tent, tol­er­ant party,” he said.But Suri said the UCP’s re­sponse doesn’t go far enough.“They need to come out and un­equiv­o­cally con­demn Is­lam­o­pho­bia,” Suri said. “Is­lam­o­pho­bia is real, anti-Semitism is real … hate, dis­crim­i­na­tion, and racism is real and it has to be rec­og­nized.”Premier Rachel Not­ley is­sued a state­ment Wed­nes­day con­demn­ing acts of racism and Is­lam­o­pho­bia. She also crit­i­cized Ken­ney’s re­sponse and called on him to take a stronger stance.“While Jason Ken­ney has said there’s no place for ha­tred in his party, racists and ex­trem­ists clearly feel wel­come with them,” she said. “This is a lead­er­ship mo­ment for Mr. Ken­ney and a test of his char­ac­ter. I’m join­ing AMPAC and Al­ber­tans to say no more mixed sig­nals, no more dog whis­tles, no more de­fend­ing racist can­di­dates and poli­cies.”The NDP has re­peat­edly slammed the UCP, ar­gu­ing that the party at­tracts ex­trem­ists.In Oc­to­ber, mem­bers of the Sol­diers of Odin posed for pho­tos with UCP nom­i­na­tion can­di­dates at a pub night in Ed­mon­ton-West Hen­day.The UCP de­nounced the group. Ken­ney tweeted out that he was dis­turbed to learn the event was “crashed by sup­port­ers of the fringe ‘Al­berta In­de­pen­dence Party,’ in­clud­ing mem­bers of hate groups.”He has said the party has a rig­or­ous vet­ting process for can­di­dates.In July, UCP nom­i­na­tion wannabe for Brooks-Medicine Hat Todd Beasley was dis­qual­i­fied just days be­fore the vote be­cause of Is­lam­o­pho­bic so­cial me­dia posts in­clud­ing one where he called Mus­lims “fools who are re­ally wor­ship­ping Satan.”Suri said the let­ter is “very un-Cana­dian” and pointed to the out­pour­ing of sup­port for Cana­dian Mus­lims af­ter crimes such as the 2017 Que­bec City mosque shoot­ing that killed six peo­ple and in­jured 19 oth­ers.Hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered in front of the Al­berta leg­is­la­ture for a vigil fol­low­ing the shoot­ing.“We’re not con­cerned at all with how the city, how the prov­ince, how Canada re­acts,” Suri said.But the es­ca­la­tion of be­hav­iour is con­cern­ing, he added.In Jan­uary, po­lice in­ves­ti­gated af­ter mem­bers of an anti-Is­lamic group showed up at Al Rashid Mosque and con­fronted peo­ple ar­riv­ing for Fri­day prayers.A spokes­woman for the mosque said two men ap­peared to be scout­ing the build­ing. One of the men was wear­ing a tuque printed with the Ara­bic word for ‘in­fi­del.’No ar­rests were made. EPS said the hate crimes and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism unit was con­sulted in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

A hate­ful let­ter was dropped off at the Markaz Ul Is­lam mosque in Ed­mon­ton some­time in the last few days.

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