The Edmonton Sikh group continues to obtain “disturbing” hateful harassment – worldnewshere.internet
Hateful incidents again hit Edmonton’s Sikh community at a local place of worship for harassing phone calls and pranks.
For the past six months, Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Mill Woods has received harassing calls and meat lover pizzas delivered to the religious group that does not eat meat.
When the community first shared the story in July, Gurpreet Kaur said the phone calls stopped.
“It took a lot of courage to go public,” Kaur told CTV News Edmonton. “We thought we were out of the woods. We thought everything was fine. “
The calls have been returning for the past two weeks since then, but this time they’re mocking.
“(They) say you haven’t even caught me,” Kaur recalled. “It just makes you feel desperate. It makes us think what can we do next?
“Now that it’s started again, it’s really difficult to deal with.”
The recordings of the calls have been forwarded to the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), which Kaur hopes will help resolve some of the fears the community is facing.
“Making these phone calls, especially if you’re a volunteer,” said Kaur, “is really, really difficult.
“How long will this go on,” she added. “It’s just exhausting.”
NOT JUST A SMALL INCIDENT
EPS would not confirm to CTV News whether the calls were being investigated as a hate crime. However, a local organization that documents such events says the number of hateful incidents has increased in the past year.
“Over the past year we’ve seen an increase in reports,” said Irfan Chaudhry, vice president of the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee (AHCC). “Unfortunately, when you look back on the past year, no community has left no stone unturned when it comes to hate crime and discrimination.
“It affects not just one individual, but the entire community who looks like that person or shares that belief,” said Chaudhry. “It has a ripple effect that affects the entire community more than typical crimes.
“From a broader perspective, it’s really easy to just ignore the saying ‘it’s just a phone call’,” he added. “It still affects people a lot.”
Chaudry said that anyone who is a victim or witness of a hate crime, an event that meets the definition of law enforcement, can charge someone under the criminal code for reporting the incident to the police. Anything that is not the case should be reported as a hate incident to an organization like the AHCC.
“Share your story and encourage reporting (of incidents),” he said. “It’s important to document those ‘minor’ calls that some find a nuisance so that they can be taken seriously before it escalates.
“It’s really important just to document it so we can develop a wider understanding and awareness of where it’s happening and which communities are affected.”
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Ryan Harding