Vancouver, Canada, welcomed newly arrived Syrian refugees at the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) Islāmic Centre on Jan. 8, 2016. Reports from NEWS1130, a local news radio station, on Jan. 9, 2016, at 12:22 a.m. PST, indicated that police were called in response to a man pepper-spraying a crowd of people standing outside the building.
The Vancouver police told the news station the spraying occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. at the MAC Islāmic Centre on Kingsway. The suspect was wearing a white sweatshirt with its hood up and rode by on a bicycle. He was reported to have sprayed at least 20 people.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue services provided victims treatment at the scene for exposure to the spray.
The MAC is a charitable, non-profit organization with chapters found in major cities in Canada. They offer religious, educational, and social support for the Muslim community. According to their website, the primary principle of MAC is to support “community involvement and service not only with the Muslim community but with every community, regardless of faith or background.”
Syrian refugees began arriving in Vancouver during December 2o15. The projected number of refugees was expected to be at least 3,000 in British Columbia by the end of March 2016.
The bicyclist who pepper-sprayed those at the MAC is still at large, according to the Vancouver Police Department.
By Cathy Milne
NEWS1130: Crowd pepper-sprayed at Syrian refugee welcome party
MAC Islāmic Centre: About MAC; Who We Are
CBC NEWS: How to help Syrian refugees coming to B.C.
Image Courtesy of Can Pac Swine’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License