Tima Kurdi says pepper-spray attack doesn't reflect 'majority' of Canadians' views

VANCOUVER -- A high-profile member of Canada's Syrian community says Friday night's pepper spraying of Syrian refugees at a welcome event in Vancouver was likely a one-off event and doesn't reflect how the majority of Canadians view the newly arrived migrants.

See Full Article

Tima Kurdi -- the aunt of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned while fleeing civil strife in Syria -- says the support Canadians have shown to refugees is "unbelievable" and they shouldn't be blamed for 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."

British Columbia's jobs minister Shirley Bond said she is dismayed that the province will be talked about across the country because of a "shameful act."

She said the incident is entirely contrary to what she's seen across B.C., where people have opened their homes and offered generosity to Syrian refugees.

"British Columbia is known as a place that is inclusive, that is incredibly multicultural," she said.

"I was heartsick, because this is not who we are. It does not reflect our values. I think British Columbians need to stand up and condemn what happened, and I think that will be the strongest message we can send."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Saudi ceasefire takes effect in Yemen, no word from Houthis

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A ceasefire proposed by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen went into effect Thursday, potentially paving the way for an end to the more than 5-year-old conflict. Saudi officials announced late on Wednesday that the ceasefire would last for two weeks and that it comes in response to UN calls to halt hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic. Source
  • U.K. braces for more virus deaths; Johnson reported stable

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britons braced Thursday for several more weeks in lockdown as Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained in a London hospital after three nights in intensive care for treatment of his coronavirus infection. The British government said Wednesday evening that the prime minister was making "steady progress" at St. Source
  • Prince William and Kate video call children at school to boost morale

    World News CTV News
    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spread some Easter cheer to pupils and teachers at one primary school in the U.K. when they dialed in for a video call while the country is on lockdown. Source
  • Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and the world on Thursday

    World News CBC News
    The latest:Trudeau says physical distancing has been 'effective' but it's not clear when pandemic will peak.Canada's two major airlines — WestJet and Air Canada — are making use of a federal wage subsidy plan to hire back thousands of workers. Source
  • Half billion more people face poverty due to virus: Oxfam

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Around half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic unless richer countries take “urgent action” to help developing nations, a leading aid organization warned Thursday. Source
  • Without 'urgent action,' half a billion will be pushed into poverty, report warns

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Around half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic unless richer countries take "urgent action" to help developing nations, a leading aid organization warned Thursday. Source
  • Atomic bomb tests help reveal age of world's biggest fish

    World News CBC News
    Scientists have figured out how to calculate the age of whale sharks — Earth's largest fish — with some guidance from the radioactive fallout spawned by Cold War-era atomic bomb testing. By measuring levels of carbon-14, a naturally occurring radioactive element that also is a by-product of nuclear explosions, the researchers determined that distinct bands present inside the shark's cartilaginous vertebrae are formed annually, like a tree's growth rings. Source
  • New York's coronavirus outbreak came from Europe and other parts of the United States, study shows

    World News CTV News
    A Mount Sinai study shows the first cases of coronavirus in New York City most likely originated in Europe and other parts of the United States, the health system said. With more than 80,000 cases and 4,260 coronavirus deaths, according to the city's website, New York is one of the major epicenters for the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Source
  • New White House press secretary downplayed pandemic threat, said Democrats were rooting for coronavirus

    World News CTV News
    New White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in comments made in February and March, a CNN KFile review has found. In radio and television appearances, McEnany, in her role as spokeswoman for U.S. Source
  • People needing addiction services feeling 'abandoned' during pandemic

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's former provincial health officer says he has "grave concerns" about reduced services because of COVID-19 for people struggling with drug addiction, while the manager of a supervised consumption site in Toronto says people are feeling abandoned. Source