Reaction to xenophobic comments has been swift
Reaction has been swift from the city of Owen Sound as well as a number of its community members after a spate of hateful comments on social media about a recent appointment to the DIA.
Waleed Aslam, who works for the County of Grey, was selected by the city to sit on the Board of Management for the Downtown Improvement Area but when it was announced on Facebook several people voiced their xenophic and ignorant comments regarding Muslims within our community.
On Thursday, Mayor Ian Boddy defended the appointment saying "The City and our arms-length Boards annually appoint individuals to our committees. We seek passionate, community minded, active and articulate advocates for our community who bring a variety of experiences and ideas. We do not care about their skin colour, heritage, religion, or who they go home to. We care most about character. Waleed Aslam Shaikh is a community representative that we want on our committees to give us a different perspective! We welcome him to the DIA Board of Management."
Another show of support came in the form of a letter from the owner of the Milk Maid in downtown Owen Sound which received wide spread support online.
Dock News reached out to Aslam for his reaction.
I have been blessed to witness what true allyship looks like - my friends and family of Grey Bruce, Owen Sound you are true allies!
When I discovered the coordinated messages of hate on my Facebook post I had decided simply to ignore them. However, the entire Grey Bruce community came out in full support to make me realize that I no longer have to tolerate any form of hate and prejudice in my home. I cannot thank everyone enough for the love and support that my family and I have received. But more importantly, I cannot express the peace I feel in knowing that my son and daughter are part of a community that challenges its privilege by refusing to remain silent on matters of hate and bigotry. This is the type of world that I dream for all of our children.
To the few people that are scared, horrified and perhaps even angered by my presence in this community, I would like to say thank you for your honesty. Some of you may only know of Muslims through very limited and stereotyped media portrayals; and, this may actually be the first time that you are interacting with a Muslim. I hope that you can take the next steps of engaging with me and having open dialogue to understand that while we may have our differences, we all share the same humanity."
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