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Alberta Resident Removes Anti-Muslim Sign, Says It Spreads Hate

A Sherwood Park resident, Edmonton, has removed an Islamophobic sticker from a sign near her bust stop, saying she rejects attempts to spread hate in her community, CBC reported.

“The sticker is not a platform for sharing ideas. It is an anonymous, subtle, sneaky way to make people feel othered,” Trish Agrell-Smith said.

The sign, which she spotted near Fir Street and Cedar Street last week had a text that asks if Islam is a religion of peace, and lists a website where readers can learn more.

The web address leads to a crudely constructed blog featuring lengthy posts that draw on racist ideas, referencing white supremacist tropes and warnings against multiculturalism and diversity.

“It’s not my place to speak on anyone’s behalf, but I would really hope that what action I have taken can provide the opportunity for others to have a platform,” she said.

The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) programs director Trent Daley described the website as “rambling”, adding that there have been other instances of stickers put up around Edmonton to promote specific hate groups.

“It’s just concerning about the kind of media that they’re trying to use, especially during an election. That’s typically when hate incidents spike,” he said.

Strathcona County councilor Brian Botterill thanked Agrell-Smith. Amarjeet Sohi, the federal Liberal candidate for Edmonton Mill Woods, tweeted his support for the Muslim community in Sherwood Park.

“If you spot one of these hateful stickers, please contact the appropriate authorities. We must stand strong, be there for one another, and work together to tackle racism and hate in all its forms,” Sohi wrote.

The most recent national crime data by Statistics Canada from 2018 shows that reported hate crimes were down for the first time in five years.

Statistics Canada reported a 151% spike in police-reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2017 following the Quebec mosque attack and the RCMP says far-right extremists have become emboldened in Canada.

In June, the Liberal government released its first anti-racism strategy that pledged $45 million over three years to tackle systemic discrimination through education and other community programs and to boost data collection on race and ethnicity.

The strategy, called “Building a Foundation for Change,” will also create an office to oversee the initiative.