Hate messages spray-painted on spa, church
Published Thursday, September 19, 2013 11:00AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:50PM EDT
Vandals spray-painted hate messages on a spa and a church in LaSalle this week.
"Go B to your country - PQ" was painted on the windows of Hammam Andalusi & Spa overnight Tuesday, and Wednesday night vandals wrote "Go home Greek - PQ" on the front door of St. Lawrence Anglican Church.
The messages on the spa did not remain long, because people who live and work in the area around 90th Ave. and Bayne St. came to the spa and volunteered to clean up the hateful messages.
The spa's owner, Mahmoud Bichari, says he has never before been subject to bigotry and discrimination in the quarter-century he's lived in Canada.
"I feel very, very badly. I don't understand what's going on. I have 25 years here and never had a problem with that," Bichari said.
The Anglican Church is frequented by members of Montreal's Caribbean community.
This congregation is mostly Caribbean and nobody among us is from Greece,” said Rev. Dorothy Samuel of the St. Lawrence Anglican Church.
Other leaders were expressing grave concern following the incident.
“We have to seriously investigate these incidents that have all the markings of hate crimes. I think law enforcement should reach out and ensure people that they are fully and duly protected,” said Fo Niemi of the rights organization known as CRAAR.
Human rights groups say the number of anti-ethnic confrontations has been on the rise ever since the Parti Quebecois began pushing its Charter of Quebec Values.
Some examples in recent weeks include a Quebec City-area woman being told to change her religion by a woman who then spat on her son, vandals coated a mosque in Saguenay with pigs' blood, and in a confrontation videotaped on a bus a man told a woman wearing a hijab that if she didn't remove her veil, that the provincial government would.
The PQ has disavowed all such incidents.
“We may not always agree but we have to we have to respect each other and we should have this debate in a respectful manner," said Bernard Drainville, Minister Responsible for Democratic Institutions.