Muslim group shocked by vandalism in Sydney
'I think it's probably just a random incident,' says organization
A welcome sign belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been ripped down the middle in Sydney, but the organization says it's hoping it was a random act.
The group discovered the vandalism of their sign, across from the Joan Harriss Cruise Pavilion on the Esplanade, on Monday. The sign had been up for the last several months.
"It says, 'Welcome to Sydney. Love for all, hatred for none,'" said Barkaat Ahmad, the general secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
"Feel pretty sad. We thought it's a nice message to everybody."
The vinyl sign was fixed to the front of Dr. Mohammed Naeem's home. He said he noticed the vandalism when he was driving his daughter to school.
"All of a sudden I looked at my sign and it was totally ripped off. I saw some, it looked like egg yolk," said Naeem.
Naeem said he received positive comments about the sign and its message from locals and cruise ship visitors.
"Now that sign is being ripped up it gives a sad feeling," he said.
Ahmad said there are currently about 40 Ahmadiyya Muslims in Sydney and they've found the local community to be friendly.
"They were pretty shocked to really hear that this has happened, we certainly do not expect that to be intentionally done in Cape Breton by the Cape Bretoners," said Ahmad.
"I think it's probably just a random incident. I really cannot possibly expect something like this from the friendly people of Cape Breton."
Ahmad plans to notify police about the vandalism. He said the group will replace the sign, perhaps using stronger material.