'Sneaky way to make people feel othered': Sherwood Park resident rips down anti-Muslim sticker

A Sherwood Park resident who removed an Islamophobic sticker from a sign near her bus stop says she’s angry about the attempt to spread hate in her community. 

Trish Agrell-Smith said she was headed to a bus stop near Fir Street and Cedar Street last week when she spotted the sticker on the back of a sign.

“The sticker is not a platform for sharing ideas. It is an anonymous, subtle, sneaky way to make people feel othered,” she said.

Text on the sticker asks if Islam is a religion of peace, and lists a website where readers can learn more. The web address leads to a crudely constructed blog featuring lengthy posts that draw on racist ideas, referencing white supremacist tropes and warnings against multiculturalism and diversity.

The sticker was too high up for her to reach when she first spotted it so she returned after work with her husband, bringing along a stool and a scraper and removed the sticker. She decided to post about it on social media, to make the point that this kind of message isn’t acceptable.

“It’s not my place to speak on anyone’s behalf, but I would really hope that what action I have taken can provide the opportunity for others to have a platform,” she said.

The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council (AMPAC) programs director Trent Daley said Sunday that there have been other instances of stickers put up around Edmonton to promote specific hate groups. In this case, the attack seems to just generally be directed at Muslims, he said. 

Daley described the website’s content as “rambling.

“It’s just concerning about the kind of media that they’re trying to use, especially during an election. That’s typically when hate incidents spike,” he said.

Daley said AMPAC will be following the situation closely, trying to make sure that if a particular group or individual is found to be responsible for the stickers, they can open up a dialogue with them. 

He said AMPAC is working with authorities, and that anyone who sees one of the stickers should call authorities to have it removed so the stickers can be identified and confirmed. 

Strathcona County councillor Brian Botterill thanked Agrell-Smith. Amarjeet Sohi, the federal Liberal candidate for Edmonton Mill Woods, tweeted his support for the Muslim community in Sherwood Park.

“If you spot one of these hateful stickers, please contact the appropriate authorities. We must stand strong, be there for one another, and work together to tackle racism and hate in all its forms,” Sohi wrote.

A spokesperson for RCMP said Sunday that police have yet to receive any reports about the stickers.

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