EDMONTON – A hate rally planned in Edmonton, Canada, on Tuesday has triggered condemnations from Muslims, activists, and city councilor who rejected the far-right anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“Hate and division have no place in this province or this country, for that matter, and we are appalled by this development,” the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council president Faisal Khan Suri said in a statement cited by Edmonton Journal.
“People of all backgrounds and religious groups deserve to feel safe, and this kind of event really hinders Muslims in Edmonton from having that safety.”
The Soldiers of Odin hate group announced a Sept. 11 “candlelight vigil” at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre via a Facebook event page titled “Infidels against Islam.”
The event was actually held outside the entrance to Commonwealth Stadium.
“It seems these events are becoming more frequent and prevalent,” said Robbie Kreger-Smith, who wanted to organize a counter-protest.
“We didn’t have adequate time to ensure we had city employee support,” Kreger-Smith, who canceled a counter-protest for safety concerns, added.
“We want to make sure we don’t take unnecessary risks for the potential of escalation.”
Meanwhile, Edmontonians were quick to respond on social media against the group’s public demonstration.
Coun. Sarah Hamilton said she is hoping to find a constructive way for communities to respond to these types of demonstrations that keep residents safe and also don’t amplify the hateful messages.
“Our response isn’t to say let them be,” Hamilton said.
“It’s to say this isn’t my city, this isn’t the city I know and there needs to be some sort of expression that this isn’t who we are and this doesn’t express our larger values.”