Muslim grocers share card of support during 'hurtful' post-Paris week

A Muslim family that runs an Ottawa grocery store is sharing a card brought to them by a customer, who says she wants to inspire more small acts of kindness after some anti-Muslim incidents in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Elizabeth Chaykowski brings a supportive note to store after anti-Muslim incidents this past week

Seyma Elevli shows the supportive card she and her family received at their Carling Avenue grocery store on Tuesday. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

A Muslim family that runs an Ottawa grocery store is sharing a card brought to them by a customer, who says she wants to inspire more small acts of kindness after some anti-Muslim incidents in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Seyma Elevi's family has been running Damas Supermarket on Carling Avenue for more than a decade.

She and her family said Thursday they haven't experienced any hatred directly but have seen stories about Muslims being targeted on the news, including in Ottawa.

"It's sad seeing how Muslims are the only ones that are being hated," she said.

On Tuesday, a customer came in and dropped off a card telling them she appreciates their kindness and friendliness, and that "you are loved, appreciated and accepted and there are many who will not allow fear and hate to rule them."

The card, from Elizabeth Chaycowski, tells the family she appreciates them. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

"It was just really touching, what she did. Then she gave me a hug," Elevi said.

"I was just like, 'Wow, there's actually people out there that actually don't hate us. Not all Muslims are being judged by non-Muslims.'"

'Follow that little whisper in our heart'

Chaykowski says she felt she wanted to do something personal and supportive after reading hateful comments toward Muslims online. (Ashley Burke/CBC)

Elizabeth Chaykowski, a music promoter in Ottawa, said she's sick over anti-Muslim sentiments she's reading about online and wanted to do something about it.

She said she thought of the grocery store she'd been shopping at for a long time, wrote the card and dropped it off.

"I really believe that if we can follow that little whisper in our heart that tells us about love… even if it's smiling towards a stranger on the street, anything like this, these little things have a cumulative effect," she said.

"I'm just one small person in the world and I can't change the whole world, but I can do what I can do."

Chaykowski said she hopes her card will inspire others to do something similar, while Elevi's family has posted a picture of the card online and plans to frame it.

Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will be in Ottawa on Friday to deliver remarks about the recent spate of anti-Muslim incidents with Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi. It's happening at the Ottawa Muslim Association off Scott Street at 12:30 p.m.

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