U.K. tourists feared public attacks after Vancouver mall photos leaked

Three British tourists are speaking out after an internal police bulletin was leaked to media, describing the “Middle Eastern” men as “suspicious” for photographing doors at Vancouver’s Pacific Centre Mall.

See Full Article

In fact, two of the men were in town for treatment for visual impairments. They say they snapped the photos to zoom in later and remember their trip in better detail. One is a 14-year-old boy. All three are of South-Asian descent.

The boy’s father says the widely circulated photos and ensuing public speculation have caused distress to the teen.

“He’s not an adult; he’s 14 years old. It’s going to cause him some kind of trauma,” Mohammed Sharaz, who owns a pizza joint in Britain, told CTV Vancouver.

The trio hasn’t left their apartment since Friday for fear that they could be recognized from the widely circulated images.

“We’re really careful. We have to look around. Is somebody looking at us? What’s happening? We haven’t been out since yesterday,” Sharaz said.

And while he says he doesn’t understand how the internal memo got leaked, Sharaz insists he doesn’t blame police.

“The way the police handled it themselves I think is fine, it’s justified, because there’s a lot of evil that goes on in the world,” he said.

Instead, Sharaz says he blames the media organizations at the centre of the mishap.

“I'm just blaming the news -- the people who broadcast our pictures without blurring our faces," he said.

The incident unfolded Thursday after Vancity Buzz, a Vancouver news website, published an article describing the incident. The website said it received the information and surveillance photos from an internal police memo.

The story was quickly circulated online and picked up by other news organizations.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer said that the internal document was not intended to be made public. He added that the description of the three men as “Middle Eastern” was not racial profiling, pointing out that police typically include race when describing suspects.

Meanwhile, a Vancouver journalist is calling on police to formally apologize to the three travellers.

“I felt extremely sad that we had taken two handicapped people and turned them into essentially part of a terrorist investigation by innuendo,” said journalist Salim Jiwa.

“The police need to apologize, the mayor needs to apologize, and the police simply shrugged off the idea that one of their terrorism memos had been leaked out,” he said.

Leaders in the Arab community are pointing out the problematic link made between the “Middle Eastern” description of the men and suspicions of terrorism, a connection that may foster hatred and bigotry.

“That can only add fuel to the fire and exasperate the potential hate crime or xenophobia or racism. So people need to be very careful,” said Mohamed Boudjenane of the Canadian Arab Federation.

However, Sharaz insists the incident has not changed his positive perceptions of Canada or Vancouver.

"My opinion hasn't changed," he said. "There's a very small number of terrorists that have given Muslims a bad name. I don't want one person or one media leak to say the whole of Vancouver, the whole of Canada is bad."

His son Salahuddin Sharaz, is diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that seriously impairs his vision. He and family friend Mohammed Kareem, 34, have been receiving treatment from Dr. Weidong Yu at the Wellspring Clinic for Holistic Medicine.

With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Patterson and the Canadian Press



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Justin Trudeau to discuss health care with premiers

    Canada News CBC News
    CBC News has learned the premiers and territorial leaders will be invited to talk health care at a working dinner hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday night in Ottawa. The dinner will follow an all-day meeting between the premiers, the prime minister and Indigenous leaders, where the focus will be on finalizing a plan to combat climate change. Source
  • House where Fritzl kept daughter as sex slave sold

    World News Toronto Sun
    VIENNA — The liquidator of Josef Fritzl’s estate says the house where the Austrian kept his daughter captive for 24 years and fathered seven of her children has been sold. Walter Anzboeck says the house in Amstetten, west of Vienna, was sold for 160,000 euros (about $173,0000). Source
  • Mistrial declared in death of black man shot in the back by police officer

    World News CTV News
    CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A South Carolina judge has declared a mistrial after a jury deadlocked in the murder trial of a white police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed black motorist. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declared a mistrial in the case after a jury said it could not reach a verdict after deliberating more than 22 hours over four days. Source
  • Sheriff's deputy dies when personal car goes into San Antonio sinkhole

    World News CTV News
    SAN ANTONIO -- Officials say an off-duty sheriff's deputy has died and two other people hurt when two vehicles plunged into a water-filled sinkhole in San Antonio, Texas. The Bexar (bayr) County Sheriff's Office on Monday identified the victim as 69-year-old Deputy Dora Linda Nishihara, who was a courthouse bailiff. Source
  • Man convicted in son’s hot-car death gets life, no parole

    World News Toronto Sun
    MARIETTA, Ga. — A judge on Monday sentenced a Georgia man to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury found that he intentionally left his toddler son in a hot SUV to die. Source
  • One dead after vehicles plunge into Texas sinkhole

    World News Toronto Sun
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS First posted: Monday, December 05, 2016 08:34 AM EST | Updated: Monday, December 05, 2016 08:38 AM EST Source
  • Sinister seniors latest ISIS executioners

    World News Toronto Sun
    Death cult ISIS is engaging in multi-generational massacres, a new video from the terrorists suggests. ISIS videos have featured fatties, kids, women, midgets and more revved up with jihadi bloodlust. Now, ISIS’s latest propaganda video is making terror’s big tent bigger with scenes of frenzied pensioners executing prisoners. Source
  • The race-baiting identity politics of Justin Trudeau

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Seeking the “safe space” that seem so vogue these days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to the safest city in the country for Liberals, and to the two safest spaces he could ever wish for. He sat down the other day with the Toronto Star’s editorial board, and with the CBC’s top-rated Toronto radio show, Metro Morning. Source
  • Teacher had sex with teen -- in fiance's apartment: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    A teacher took the old cat’s away, mice will play maxim a bit too far, cops say. Alaina Ferguson, 23, is accused of sexually assaulting a male student and sending him raunchy selfies. Not only that, investigators say the teacher engaged in the trysts at her fiance’s apartment while he was away. Source
  • Landlord in Oakland warehouse fire slammed for Facebook post [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    The hipster landlord who ruled over a run-down Oakland warehouse that exploded in flames, killing at least 33 people, was an “arrogant” party animal who laughed off friends’ safety concerns. Derick Ion Almena, who ran the Oakland Ghost Ship, took to Facebook to make a series of whiny comments that ignored the immensity of the horrific tragedy. Source