A Sudbury Imam says it's important to talk openly with each other if we want to tackle racism in our community.

Last week, a Muslim man living in Sudbury spoke out about a racist message he received while trying to buy a cellphone on Facebook.

Mohammed Hassan says he was trying to negotiate the price of a used cell phone when the seller called him a "useless Muslim."

Hassan reported the message to police, but was told they couldn't do anything for him.

Imran Bagha, a part-time Imam at the Islamic Centre of Northern Ontario says this kind of experience is relatively rare for people in his community.

He adds ongoing conversations about racism and discrimination can help reduce racist incidents.

"Racism occurs in general because of a lack of understanding," Bagha said.

"So the more that we talk with each other, the more that we talk with our community members as a diverse community, the more that we can learn that we are all the same."

Bagha encourages people to visit one of the three mosques in Sudbury if they want to learn about Islam and have these kinds of conversations.

Report it

Greater Sudbury Police say reports of hate or bias are relatively rare.

Detective Constable Reynard Dockery says a lot of factors go into determining whether an incident can be considered a hate crime.

"It would be based on the victim's perception, whether it was verbal, whether it was propaganda, physical, things of that nature," he said.

Dockery encourages anyone who feels like they may be a victim of a hate crime to report it to police.

With files from Robin De Angelis