Trudeau condemns pepper spray attack at Vancouver event for Syrian refugees

By Rafferty Baker & Karin Larsen
CBC News | January 9, 2016

A crowd of refugees attending a welcome event at the Muslim Association of Canada Centre in Vancouver was pepper sprayed by an unknown man on a bicycle.

It happened outside the centre on the Kingsway near Victoria Drive around 10:30 p.m. as the event was winding down and the group of newcomers to Canada was waiting for a bus.

This incident drew condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

« This isn’t who we are, » Trudeau said in a tweet. Robertson, also on Twitter, described the incident as a « disgusting display of hate. »

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) sees the attack as potential hate crime.

« This is an act of cowardice condemned by all Canadians of conscience. We call on local authorities to investigate this assault as a potential hate crime so a clear message is sent that such abhorrent acts have no place in our communities, » said NCCM Board Chair Kashif A. Ahmed, a Vancouver-based lawyer….

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