Saskatoon

Neighbours without Borders: Muslim family opens home to community after hate crime

Aisha Sheikh believes her father is the victim of a hate crime, but instead of getting angry she and her family are opening their home to the community on the weekend. The Sheikh's are calling the one-day event Neighbours without Borders.

Saskatoon resident Abu Sheikh was chased on a sidewalk by a half-ton truck

Aisha Sheikh and her father, Abu, show the bricks thrown through the windows of the Sheikh home. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Aisha Sheikh believes her father is the victim of a hate crime, but instead of getting angry she and her family are opening their home to the community for a special event this weekend.

Abu Sheikh was walking home from his morning prayers at the mosque in his traditional clothes when a truck mounted the sidewalk in front of him and the driver attempted to run him down.

The truck followed him home, and the people inside later threw bricks at the Sheikhs' house.

"I think it's a lack of understanding, a lack of awareness of what it means when someone wears traditional attire to go to prayer — what they're doing when they go to pray," Aisha Sheikh said.

Sheikh, who lives in San Francisco, returned to Saskatoon to be with her family after the attack.

Abu Sheikh and his family have been heartened by people's response to the unprovoked attack, with many offering flowers, cards and offers of help.
She found plenty of support for her father in the city.

"As people read the news, residents and people nationally just felt really horrible. We collectively felt horrible," she said "We thought, 'We need to turn this into something positive for us."

Walking together

Abu Sheikh is recovering from his injuries with physiotherapy and the Sheikhs are starting to repair the damage done to their home. The well-wishes and messages of concern keep pouring in.

"We're simultaneously overwhelmed by how many amazing people are in this city," she said.

We thought, 'We need to turn this into something positive for us.'- Aisha Sheikh

"We're planning an event and we're calling it Neighbours Without Borders."

The one-time event is planned for Saturday at 2 o'clock.

Those walking in solidarity with the Sheikhs and the Muslim community will meet at the mosque where Abu Sheikh worships.

Then, they'll walk home with him.

"We'll have a little activity at the house and turn back and meet at the Grosvenor Park, and we have some speaking and some performances," said Aisha Sheikh.

"We know there are people out there creating this divisiveness but the reality is it's our duty to bring people together and lead the way to the kind of inclusivity we want to experience in Canada."

with files from Saskatoon Morning