News

PoCo Mosque hit with racist graffiti

Neighbours of the Masjid Al-Hidayah and Islamic Cultural Centre are reeling after racist graffiti was scrawled across the front of the Port Coquitlam mosque Wednesday night. - JENNIFER GAUTHIER/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Neighbours of the Masjid Al-Hidayah and Islamic Cultural Centre are reeling after racist graffiti was scrawled across the front of the Port Coquitlam mosque Wednesday night.
— image credit: JENNIFER GAUTHIER/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

Members of the Masjid Al-Hidayah and Islamic Cultural Centre are concerned after racist graffiti was sprayed across the front of the Port Coquitlam mosque Wednesday night.

The word “sandniggas” was spray-painted on the front of the building and was visible to drivers and local businesses along the Kingsway Avenue industrial strip.

Saad Bahr, a director at the mosque, said the graffiti is disturbing but he called it an isolated incident.

“I can say that this is something very strange and unusual for our neighbourhood,” Bahr told The Tri-City News. “We have never seen anything like this.”

He added that the mosque has operated in the area since 1994, first out of rented spaces, then at its current dedicated mosque, which opened in 2003. In the last 17 years, there have been no acts of vandalism on any of the properties, he said.

“It is very disgusting and odd,” he said. “But it is something that is isolated.”

While the sight of the graffiti was disturbing, Bahr said he was encouraged by the fact so many of his neighbours pitched in to help clean up the mess.

Representatives of local businesses and the Northside Foursquare Church’s Grace Campus across the street all expressed concern for Bahr and the mosque members.

Bill Thomson, a worker at Boyd Autobody and Glass across the street from the mosque as well as several of his co-workers helped some of the mosque managers in removing the graffiti.

“We wanted to go over there and wash it off,” Thomson said. “It’s absolutely disgusting.”

So far, a formal complaint has not been made to the Coquitlam RCMP and the mosque’s management was unable to comment by The Tri-City News’ deadline.

But Const. Kristina Biro said that if the incident is reported, Mounties will investigate.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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