Grand Forks, B.C., mayor apologizes for calling Syrian refugees potential ‘terrorists’

By Chris Walker
CBC News | September 11, 2017

The mayor of Grand Forks, B.C., is apologizing for calling Syrian refugees potential “pedophiles” and “terrorists,” but insists he is “not in any way a racist.”

He responded after CBC News was shown a video of a public meeting held two years ago.

Mayor Frank Konrad made a series of comments before a vote at a city council meeting on Sept. 14, 2015, during a debate over whether to support Syrian refugees coming to the community.

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The mayor’s comments are “discriminatory and disappointing,” said Amira Elghawaby, with the National Council of Canadian Muslims who watched the exchange recently.

The mayor, she said, is a “a public official who really should know better, and who should be weighing his words carefully, rather than engaging in fear-mongering and misinformation.”

“The idea that there are specific security risks in the case of bringing Syrian refugees into Canada, versus any other population of refugees, is in itself discriminatory,” she said.

Elghawaby also criticized council’s silence.

“This is an example where even if you’re listening to someone making any kind of racist comments, it’s critical that people call that out immediately.”

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