Kitchener-Waterloo

Wilfrid Laurier employee put on leave after alleged Islamophobic posts

A Wilfrid Laurier University employee has been placed on leave after allegedly posting Islamophobic messages online.

Posts advocated boycott of Muslim-owned businesses and avoidance by children

Wilfrid Laurier University says an investigation is underway. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A Wilfrid Laurier University employee has been placed on leave after allegedly posting Islamophobic messages online.

"These posts were brought to our attention and we are investigating the matter with high priority," a university spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CBC on Friday.

"The employee in question has been placed on leave pending the outcome of this investigation. The posts do not in any way represent the perspectives or values of Wilfrid Laurier University. Laurier is committed to creating a culture that is inclusive and safe for everyone, and does not condone behaviours that promote hate, induce fear, or threaten people's safety."

'Distressing and worrisome' says local group

A screenshot of the alleged messages was shared by the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW on Friday.

In it, the employee allegedly shared a message in a private Facebook group that advised people to tell their children to stay away from Muslims and not to buy anything sold by them.

The person also allegedly shared an image of a rally in support of Palestinians and described the rally-goers as "jehadi's [sic]."

The screenshot indicated that the employee worked in international recruitment at the university. 

A statement from the coalition said it is "extremely concerned over the blatantly racist and Islamophobic messages," and described the incident as "distressing and worrisome."

The coalition said it wants to see personal and institutional accountability.

"We need an answer at this point," said executive director Fauzia Mazhar.

She said the individual in question should address the situation or apologize and the university must publicly condemn the incident.

Mazhar said the coalition was made aware of the incident after receiving multiple reports through its new online hate and discrimination reporting tool.

Police investigation

Meanwhile, a Waterloo Regional Police spokesperson told CBC in an emailed statement that officers investigated the incident after receiving reports on May 27.

Police said officers spoke to the individual responsible for the posts and it was determined that there were no grounds for criminal charges.

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