Canada’s Syrian community has reached out to head off any incoming backlash, a day after a refugee from that country was charged in the death of a 13-year-old B.C. girl.
“At this moment of deep sadness, we earnestly join all Canadians in mourning and hope that this terrible incident won’t result in a backlash against refugees,” Tareq Hadhad, who runs a Syrian-Canadian chocolate company, said on Twitter.
Ali came to Canada as a Syrian refugee about four months before Marrisa’s death, police said. He had become a permanent resident, with no criminal record.
The charges have caused a stir on social media, with racial slurs and epithets hurled against refugees.
Investigators also said there was no evidence that religious ideology played any part in the killing.
“The Syrian community in Canada join their fellow Canadians today in shock and condemnation of the despicable homicide of young Marrisa Shen,” read a letter issued Monday afternoon from a group of prominent Syrian Canadians and refugee advocates.
They also expressed sympathy to Marrisa’s family and thanks to the police for tracking down Ali.
Here is a statement from a group of Syrian Canadians + refugees advocates following murder charges laid against Ibrahim Ali in the death of 13 y/o Marrisa Shen. The community spoke out to offer support to the Shen family and in fear of backlash against refugees.@BlackPressMedia pic.twitter.com/BmefqaMvQh
— Kat Slepian (@katslepian) September 11, 2018
The Syrian community in Vancouver will be lighting candles for Marrisa at the provincial courthouse on Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Ali is expected to appear in court at that time.