A man who’s lived near Kitscoty, Alta. for nearly six years awoke Wednesday morning to find something horrible written on his garage door: “Go back.”
Abdul Mian said he was very shocked to see the disturbing graffiti scrawled outside his home.
“We’re lost. We’re still in shock. We still think it didn’t happen.”
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Going by his nickname Shahzad, he posted photos of the incident on his Facebook page. In addition to the hateful message, he opened up about another frightening incident on Sunday.
“We were sleeping and all of a sudden we were woken up,” Mian told Global News. “Somebody was at the door and my daughter woke me up saying, ‘somebody’s at the door ringing the doorbell.’ So we went outside and our Fire Chief Kevin from Kitscoty was there telling me, ‘your trucks are on fire and they’re gone.’”
RCMP confirmed at least one semi truck was burned to the ground. The trucks – used in the oil field – were the family’s livelihood.
WATCH: RAW VIDEO: Truck fire near Kitscoty, Alta. leaves family startled
Mian, who moved from Pakistan to Canada in 1997, has lived in the community for five-and-a-half years and doesn’t know why someone would do this.
He said he hasn’t slept in days and that his children are afraid.
“Very sad to see that and very much disturbed to see this,” Mian wrote.
“Worked really hard for [the] past five-and-a-half years and still working with 100 per cent honesty and ethics.”
Mian says he loves his community but doesn’t know if he’ll stay there now.
“Every Canadian has always loved us and we don’t think whoever did this is a real true Canadian.”
Mian said he’s already painted over the graffiti and has put up a Canadian flag.
His Facebook post has already garnered a lot of support.
A profile associated with PC MLA Ric McIver posted this comment: “People need to think before they act. This does not represent our province. It only represents one or a few jerks. Thank you for contributing. You deserve a lot better and the people that did these things deserve jail.”
The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) said it “condemns recent Islamophobic incidents in Kitscoty and Calgary.”
The group said vandals set fire to two trucks belonging to Mian just a few days after someone sprayed the words “go back” on his garage.
It also said two fathers in Calgary are frightened for their kids after the men – both Syrian refugees – say they were assaulted over the weekend in the Forest Lawn neighbourhood.
“AMPAC calls on local police units to investigate these attacks as potential hate crimes,” a statement from the group read. “AMPAC condemns these acts as they only serve to victimize community members.
“Such attitudes impact on Canada’s multicultural fabric. Canadians should stand firmly against hatred of any kind.”
The RCMP has not officially deemed this a hate crime, but the investigation is still active.
“We haven’t ruled out that it may be a hate crime or not,” RCMP Sgt. Juan Huss said. “It’s just something that we’ve got to investigate without any bias, so we’ll go where the evidence leads us to and based on that, we’ll be able to determine whether this was part of a hate crime as well.”
“For them (vandalism incidents) to happen in such a short time – back to back – I do feel that they were connected,” Mian said.
READ MORE: Hate Crimes Unit investigating after ‘Leave Canada’ spray-painted on Edmonton Sikh temple
Last January, a Sikh temple in south Edmonton was vandalized with the words “Leave Canada.” The hate crimes unit was called in to investigate.
READ MORE: ‘We’re proud of Cold Lakers and proud of Canada’: Mayor on community support following vandalism at local mosque
In October 2014, a mosque in Cold Lake was targeted, and the words ‘go home’ were spray painted on it. The community gathered together to scrub off the vandalism.
Kitscoty is about 24 kilometres west of Lloydminister, which is on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.