Members of Syrian family targeted by graffiti say they have been beaten, threatened
Kids bullied by other children who said 'we'll burn your life,' Winnipeg man says
A Syrian father in Winnipeg who woke up to find hateful graffiti on his fence earlier this week telling him to leave Canada was also beaten recently, and says his children have been bullied by kids who threatened to torch their home.
Speaking through a translator, Mannan Hamrasho told CBC News that in recent months his two kids had been threatened by other children who said "we'll burn your life" and "we'll put fire in your house."
A house next door to the Hamrasho home caught fire about a month ago. The fire was so severe a window in the Hamrasho home blew out.
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The family doesn't know if the fire is connected to the threats. Six Syrian families live on the Dufferin Avenue block where the graffiti appeared, so Hamrasho said he's not sure if it was his family that was specifically targeted or all six.
He also said he had to be hospitalized two months ago with broken bones after he was beaten by a man who punched him in the face and took his phone. He's had his car broken into as well.
Hamrasho, who doesn't speak English, called Nour Ali, an interpreter and member of the Kurdish Initiative for Refugees, who then called 911 to report the beating.
Ali translated for Hamrasho during his interview with CBC Thursday. Hamrasho said his family live in a tough neighbourhood, but they believe the series of events are motivated by hate.
'There is some racism'
"I don't like to say it, but there is some racism," Hamrasho said through his translator.
Ali said the family are scared and now sleep together in their living room at night in case they need to flee the house. They say they're trying to leave the area.
The citizen group Bear Clan Patrol has increased its coverage of the area in light of the graffiti.
"They fled a war-torn country and I don't want them to feel like they need to flee Dufferin too," said Bear Clan executive director James Favel.
Hamrasho said his family have been touched by the response from community members and the Bear Clan, who have come forward to advocate for the Syrians.
"That is something powerful," he said.
Hamrasho expressed his gratitude to the Canadian government, which sponsored his family, allowing them to leave Lebanon, where they went after fleeing Syria.
"We know Canada's one of the best countries for all refugees, that we know," he said.
"We thank them and at same time we promise we do our best to be good people for this country."
Winnipeg police have confirmed they are investigating the graffiti.
With files from Jacaudrey Charbonneau