‘I just got that sick feeling’: Edmonton man lauded for covering anti-Muslim graffiti

By Jonny Wakefield
Edmonton Journal | April 21, 2017
It only took a couple of minutes for Tyler Johnstone to realize he had to turn around.

Driving on Highway 16 just outside the gates of Jasper National Park on Wednesday morning, the Edmonton resident spotted the word “Mosque” spray-painted in bright yellow on the side of a roadside outhouse.

“I saw it right away; it was really noticeable,” the 28-year-old said Thursday. “I drove maybe two or three minutes down the road and just got that sick feeling.”

Now, Johnstone is earning kudos for his decision to turn back and cover the anti-Muslim graffiti.

. . .

According to the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Statistics Canada recorded a doubling of hate crimes against Muslims between 2012 and 2014, ranging from vandalism to assaults motivated by anti-Muslim bias.

The council also tracks hate crimes against Muslims, which doubled in Alberta from 2015 to 2016. Fifteen per cent of those incidents were reported in Alberta, which was second only to Ontario.

Sehrish Amjad, human rights officer with the organization, said the graffiti Johnstone found was troubling and called on police to investigate.

“It’s very disappointing — a sacred place for many Muslims is written on a filthy place like a restroom,” Amjad said. “That sends an unwelcoming message to the Muslim community.

“But it’s very heartening to see this individual do the right thing by covering it up and playing a very important role in sending a counter message to the community, that the actions of one of two individuals don’t represent the sentiments of a majority of Canadians.”

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