Xenophobic posters prompt hate crimes investigation

Police are investigating after a series of xenophobic posters were distributed in a southwest Edmonton neighbourhood.

Flyers delivered anonymously to dozens of mailboxes in southwest Edmonton

One of the anti-Muslim posters which was distributed to homes in south-west Edmonton this week. (Supplied)

Police are investigating after a series of xenophobic posters were distributed in a southeast Edmonton neighbourhood.

The posters — which read, #BANISLAM — have been circulating the Richfield neighbourhood in the Mill Woods residential area.

A number of residents found the flyers in their mailboxes over the last week.

Police spokesperson Scott Pattison confirmed to CBC News the campaign is being investigated by the Hate Crimes Unit.

Investigators are encouraging Edmontonians to take detailed observations of anyone seen distributing similar material, and report them to police.

"Comments and publications that insult, target or marginalize one community over another, cause hurt, mistrust and weaken our entire society," Edmonton police said in a statement.

"The Edmonton Police Service is committed to working with the citizens of Edmonton to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive city for all."

'It's utter shock'

The flyer refers to the religion as a "delusional seventh-century cult" and characterizes Islam as violent.

"Islam is the only religion that has to retain its membership by formally threatening to kill anyone who leaves. This is according to the example set by Muhammad," the flyer reads.

"Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, had people killed for insulting him," reads the flyer. "Muslims are told to emulate the example of Muhammad." 

It's unclear if who is responsible for distributing the offensive posters.

"The reaction amongst the Muslim community and the non-Muslim is the same. It's utter shock. It's concern. It's disgust as well, that this type of stuff is going on," said Aurangzeb Qureshi, a spokesperson with the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, who has been working with community members and the police.

"Obviously these actions run counter to the Canadian principles of diversity, inclusion and respect. We were taken aback and the community was taken aback."

The campaign follows the discovery of racist posters at the University of Alberta last month.

In that case, the Sikh community was targeted.

The flyers pictured a turbaned man, proclaiming in bold letters, "F---k your Turban ... If you're so obsessed with your third-world culture go the f---k back to where you came from!"

The hashtags, "Non-Integrative" and "Invasion" were also on the posters, which garnered harsh condemnations from the public, community leaders and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


Wallis Snowdon is a journalist with CBC Edmonton focused on bringing stories to the website and the airwaves. She loves helping people tell their stories on issues ranging from health care to the courts. Originally from New Brunswick, Wallis has reported in communities across Canada, from Halifax to Fort McMurray. She previously worked as a digital and current affairs producer with CBC Radio in Edmonton. Wallis has a bachelor of journalism (honours) from the University of King's College in Halifax, N.S. Share your stories with Wallis at wallis.snowdon@cbc.ca.