Bar­ber stands united against racist van­dal­ism

Akkashe holds a char­i­ta­ble hate aware­ness event, of­fer­ing free hair­cuts for do­na­tions

StarMetro Edmonton - - EDMONTON - OMAR MOSLEH CON­TRIB­UTED thes­tar.com/ed­mon­ton

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When Ahmad Akkashe’s friends and neigh­bours first heard about how his bar­ber­shop had been van­dal­ized with the words “Kill Mus­lims” and “Kill Lebs,” they were more an­gry than he was.

“I was the one telling them calm down, take it easy, this is just one in­di­vid­ual,” he said. “I knew this doesn’t rep­re­sent what Ed­mon­ton or Canada is about.”

And while he tried to not be too per­son­ally af­fected by the in­ci­dent, he did find him­self think­ing about the in­ci­dent as the days went by.

It’s why he’s hold­ing a char­i­ta­ble hate aware­ness event this Sun­day, of­fer­ing hair­cuts for do­na­tions, with pro­ceeds go­ing to­ward the Chop Shop Bar­ber­shop owner Ahmad Akkashe says he doesn’t want his son, Yahya, to think any race has su­pe­ri­or­ity be­cause of “their skin colour or wealth or any­thing.”

John Humphrey Cen­tre for Peace and Hu­man Rights. He points to his Is­lamic faith for how he dealt with the in­ci­dent, say­ing it teaches him to be pa­tient, gen­er­ous and

com­pas­sion­ate.

He’ll be joined by Ed­mon­ton-McClung MLA Lorne Dach and Ed­mon­ton-Mead­owlark MLA Jon Car­son, who helped or­ga­nize the event.

“I’d heard about it and was pretty shocked and sad­dened by it, and I thought I’d have my hair cut by Ahmad,” Dach said. “And in hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with him, I cer­tainly saw first­hand how af­fected he and his fam­ily were by this.”

Akkashe said when news of the in­ci­dent started spread­ing, he was over­whelmed by how many peo­ple reached out to him.

“Hon­estly, I don’t like at­ten­tion too much,” he said. “I’m grate­ful for all the sup­port and the re­sponse it got from the com­mu­nity. But deal­ing with ev­ery­thing at once has been kind of hec­tic.”

He said friends, neigh­bours, other busi­nesses and strangers reached out to him, and it showed him that Ed­mon­to­ni­ans stand to­gether against acts of hate.

“All I can say is thank you, sin­cerely,” Akkashe said. “It just showed me a side of peo­ple that I al­ways knew ex­ists. We’re united.”

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