Chilliwack restaurant owner targeted by hateful racist email

Published: March 2, 2013

SAM COOPER
VANCOUVER DESI

A view of the Chilliwack downtown core with the Law Courts building in the foreground. A businessman reported to police receiving a hateful and harrassing letter to his private email in Chilliwack on March 2, 2013.

Police in Chilliwack are investigating after the owner of an Indian restaurant was sent an email filled with racial hatred suggesting his “people” should clear out because Chilliwack doesn’t “need folk from India and Surrey to pollute this city.”

The restaurant owner said his home was recently egged and someone tossed chicken bones on his doorstep several months ago, but at first he wrote those incidents off as teenage pranks.

After receiving a chilling message to his private email on Thursday, he says he reported the “chain” of incidents to the RCMP.

The owner said he is afraid to have his name published because he fears that could incite more racial targeting of himself and his restaurant, which he has invested $300,000 in.

“We have good customers but some people seem like they are in the 1950s still,” the owner said Saturday. “The racists don’t want me here in Chilliwack. The Supreme Court says racism and hate is a crime, and I think this [message] is harassment. My family is scared.”

The anonymous message writer says he is “well-connected” in Chilliwack,and he assures the owner that no matter how much he invests his restaurant will fail, because South Asians are not welcome in Chilliwack. The hateful email, obtained by The Province and Vancouver Desi, says: “Your people come from a third-world India living in mud houses and drinking cow piss and bathing in milk.”

“I speak on behalf of citizens of Chilliwack,” the writer says. “Your business is never going to succeed. Tell your people this is not a good place for them.”

“There are good people here, good families and we don’t need the folk from India and Surrey to pollute this city,” the writer concludes.

Mehtab Mann, a 21-year-old woman who lives in Chilliwack and is a friend of the owner, said she strongly believes the message writer has committed a hate crime, and should be charged.

“What upsets me most is how there are still people out there in this day in age who are committing such hate crimes,” Mann said. “Canada is known for its multiculturalism, and if you can’t accept that, then maybe this isn’t the place for you.”

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth said a Chilliwack RCMP investigator is working on the file after taking a statement from the owner. The owner told Vancouver Desi  he understands that the investigator will recommend turning the case over to the RCMP’s hate crime unit.

“I think it’s too early in the investigation to determine if there will be charges as we are still attempting to determine the identity of the author,” Hollingsworth told Vancouver Desi. “This person’s comments are very disturbing to all of us.”

Under The Criminal Code of Canada if a judge finds a crime, such as an assault, intimidation, harassment or uttering threats, was motivated by hatred against a person or group because of who they are, tougher sentences can be applied.

Chilliwack, with a population of 92,300, has a much higher majority of white, English mother-tongue speakers than B.C.’s average, according to the 2011 census.

The hateful email, in its language, tone and twisted logic, seems to mirror two extremely negative online reviews against Chilliwack’s only two Indian restaurants. Both reviews were submitted to TripAdvisor.com on Dec. 29, 2012.

While slamming the food and “smell” in both restaurants, the anonymous reviewer says he thinks both restaurants will go out of business in Chilliwack, and both would do better in Surrey.

scooper@theprovince.com
twitter.com/scoopercooper

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