Police investigate hateful graffiti outside home of refugees, while signs that newcomers are welcome pop up in city
Published Wednesday, September 20, 2017 2:03PM CST Last Updated Wednesday, September 20, 2017 6:31PM CST
Winnipeg police are investigating hateful graffiti on a fence outside the home of Syrian refugees.
Mannan Hamrasho came to Winnipeg with his wife and two kids in February and lives at the property where the messages appeared.
"Canada is good. This is not good," he said.
"Go back to your country. Leave Canada," reads one of the messages.
Hamrasho discovered the writing Tuesday. He said police officers came by to have a look and took pictures.
Winnipeg police tell CTV News the major crimes unit and other units are investigating the messages, as well as possible threats against people living in the homes at the property of the fence.
Hamrasho said there are six families living at the property, located near the corner of Dufferin Avenue and McGregor Street. He said some of them speak Arabic, and his family speaks Kurdish.
Hamrasho used a chisel to scrape off the graffiti on Wednesday afternoon.
Winnipeggers combat negative views about newcomers with welcome signs
In an effort to combat negative views about people from different parts of the world making Manitoba home, some Winnipeggers are putting up signs on their lawns and in their windows to welcome newcomers.
In the Exchange District, Warehouse Artworks owner Rod Sasaki put a sign of a woman wearing a hijab with the words ‘Everyone is welcome here’ in his storefront.
Sasaki said he’s noticed an increase in ignorant views and wanted to do something about it.
“People come to think 'oh well that's way it should be, you just distrust people who are different than you,'” he said. “But if you see things like that [the sign], then maybe there is another point of view. And of course there is another point of view. That's the right point of view,” he explained.
In St. Boniface, Esther DeGroot is selling ‘Welcome your neighbors’ lawn signs.
DeGroot wants the signs to remind people in English, French and Arabic, no matter where you're from, you are welcome here.
"When I put this sign up, I'm thinking about newcomers to Canada, but I’m also thinking about people in Canada who are scared of new people coming in, of the changes that might bring,” she said.
“I think there's a small minority of Winnipeggers that's don’t want them here, want them to feel afraid. Not a heck of a lot I can do that, but this is one way I can say you have my support," said John Simpson, who lives in St. Norbert and purchased a sign.
In the past two weeks, DeGroot said she’s sold about 80 signs. She hopes to sell 2,000.
Each sign costs $10.00. She said each one costs $5.00 to make. The rest of the money from the sale is being donated to the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, also known as Welcome Place.
You can learn more about the signs here.