Organization says restaurant incident shows bigger problem

By Patrick Burles (@PatrickBurles on Twitter)
May 10, 2018 - 4:58am

LETHBRIDGE – An incident at a Lethbridge Denny’s that has sparked national outrage is part of a bigger problem, according to Adil Hasan.

The vice president of civic engagement with the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council spoke with Lethbridge News Now on Wednesday, May 9, in response to the viral video. In it, Cranbrook woman Kelly Pocha can be seen arguing with patrons at another table and making a number of racist comments as the verbal confrontation escalated.

She later confirmed it was her and discussed what happened in an exclusive interview with LNN.

“Obviously, when we saw the video there's a sense of shock,” said Hasan. “You're appalled that this kind of language and rhetoric is being directed at people in Canada. For the most part, Canadians are peace-loving and very understanding and thoughtful people. However, recently we have seen numbers of Islamophobic and racist incidents go up across Canada, and particularly in Alberta as well.

WARNING: Video contains offensive language


“We understand that the majority of Albertans and Canadians are not like that,” he continued. “However, the small minority that do share these thoughts and whatnot, have become more vocal and more outspoken recently.”

Having said that, Hasan did note that the strong backlash from Canadians on social media is a sign of progress.

“It reinforces our belief that the vast, vast majority of Albertans and Canadians are peaceful, tolerant people that respect and understand and appreciate the diversity that we have in our communities and are good people at the end of the day.”

As for Pocha’s response to LNN, some of which included statements of remorse for her actions, Hasan was still bothered by other parts of what she had to say.

“I saw some comments from the lady who was involved in the incident, and you know, it's a little bit troubling that some of the comments almost seem like they were being justified. I don't know that there's any justification that can be provided for language and speech like that.”

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