Calgary

Hateful LRT graffiti replaced by messages of love during Calgary's morning commute

When they heard about anti-Islamic graffiti scrawled across public and private property at a northwest transit station, these young Calgary residents decided to replace the hateful words with messages of love.

Young Calgarians bring giant hearts, positive messages to cover spray paint urging violence against Muslims

This group of young people responded immediately to the hateful graffiti scrawled across the Tuscany LRT station in Calgary by bringing messages of love to morning commuters. (Nahiyan Chowdhury)

When they heard about anti-Islamic graffiti scrawled across public and private property at a northwest transit station, these young Calgary residents decided to replace the hateful words with messages of love.

Bilal Sher said he and his friends initially headed to the Tuscany LRT station late Thursday night — with the intent to cover over gold spray paint urging violence against Syrians and Muslims — with giant red hearts and posters bearing messages of tolerance.

But when they arrived, they found city officials already well into the process of removing the graffiti and were told by bylaw officers they need a permit to hang up posters, something they couldn't get at such a late hour.

So, the group decided to bring their message of positivity to morning commuters in person, instead.

The group of young Calgarians brought large hearts and messages of peace and understanding to commuters hours after the Tuscany LRT station was vandalized with hateful graffiti against Muslims, Syrians, and refugees. (Evelyne Asseline/CBC)

"We were told we could stand, hold our posters and spread the cheer," Sher told CBC Calgary via a Facebook message.

"Maybe it'll brighten someone's day or give them something positive to think about!"

Nadir Khan, who held a sign bearing a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. — "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend" — said he and his friends wanted to overpower the messages of hate with something stronger.

"We decided to do this as a little remedy to the whole thing that happened here yesterday at Tuscany station, where the whole station was vandalized with anti-Syrian refugee and anti-Muslim graffiti all over the walls and windows," Khan said.

"We just want to show that the youth can do something positive … and we want to show that people may be doing bad things, but realistically, as a community, we can overcome it and we can do something better for the community."

The sentiment seemed to be well received by Friday-morning commuters, who tweeted their approval.

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