British Columbia

'Bigoted' signs in Pitt Meadows park used city's logo without permission

The city says they were unaware of the signs being put up, did not endorse their message and have since removed them.

Muslim organization says 'subtle' signs an attempt to build hostility toward Muslims

The signs used the City of Pitt Meadows logo without permission and one advocate says they are an attempt to spread hostility toward Muslims. (City of Pitt Meadows)

A Muslim advocacy group says unauthorized notices found in a Pitt Meadows off-leash park bearing the city's logo are part of a bigoted effort to sow discord.

The signs, found at Hoffman Park earlier this week, say that dogs are considered "filthy" by Muslims and would offend Muslims living in the area. They ask for people to keep their dogs leashed and away from Muslims.

The black-and-white signs, printed on white copy paper and posted on trees and other visible areas, bore the logo of the City of Pitt Meadows and the URL of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' homepage but both groups say they had nothing to do with them.

"We see this on occasion where people try to be kind of an 'agent provocateur' and use these kinds of messages to promote hostility towards Muslims and Islam," Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper told Early Edition host Rick Cluff.

"Sometimes people use the direct bigoted approach — we see that all too often in America and Canada, unfortunately — but other times they try and be a little more sophisticated or subtle."

Hooper says Muslims are not forbidden from owning dogs and the prophet Muhammed spoke positively about them.

He says the only religious restriction on dogs is their saliva is considered ritually impure. If a Muslim has dog saliva on their person, they are to wash before praying.

In a statement, the City of Pitt Meadows says it does not endorse the notices' message and staff have removed them.

"Whether they were produced by a well-meaning member of the Muslim community or by someone wanting to cause contention, the fact remains that there are current bylaws in place that enforce areas for dogs to be on leash, except in designated off-leash areas," Mayor John Becker said in the statement.

Hooper says people need to use "common sense" when they come across signs like these and if they have questions about Islam, to ask someone in that community.

With files from CBC Radio One's The Early Edition