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CBC asks whether the media should report criminal charges against refugees

On February 10, 2017, CBC News tweeted the following question: “When a refugee faces criminal charges, should the public be told?”

The question was raised following the arrest of a Syrian refugee by Edmonton Police in connection to several cases of sexual assaults and sexual interference.

On February 8, 2017, The Edmonton Police Service issued the following informative statement:

The Edmonton Police Service Zebra Child Protection Section has charged a 39-year-old male in connection with multiple sexual assaults that occurred over the weekend at a west-end water park.

West Division patrol officers responded to the West Edmonton Mall World Waterpark at approximately 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, after receiving sexual assault allegations.

It was reported to police the accused inappropriately touched multiple teenaged girls, while they were swimming at the waterpark. Upon arrival, patrol members were led to the accused male by WEM security officials, at which time he was arrested and taken into custody.

Child Protection Section has since taken over the investigation.

Soleiman Hajj Soleiman, 39, has been charged with sexual assault (x6) and sexual interference (x6).

The Edmonton Police’s statement did not mention any more details about the suspect. Media outlet, including CBC, Global News and The Rebel, reported that Soleiman Hajj Soleiman is a Syrian refugee, father of six who arrived in Canada in January 2016.

Identifying Soleiman Hajj Soleiman as a Syrian refugee was criticized by the Muslim community. Mohamed Huque, executive director of the Islamic Family and Social Services Association, told CBC that the reports about Soleiman’s refugee status unfairly vilified an entire community. Huque added that the case has already being used to incite fear of new immigrants, and has cast a negative light on thousands of refugees.

The Canadian mainstream media systemically avoids publishing negative stories on the Syrian refugees. CBC’s reports constantly promote a positive image of the Syrian refugees, their integration and contribution to society. Here are some of CBC’s most latest articles (Jan-Feb 2017):

  • ‘Brute determination’: Syrian refugee mom gives birth hours after reaching new home (click HERE)
  • Yukon’s first Syrian refugee family, 1 year later (click HERE)
  • Syrian refugee, Algoma U student, calls Sault Ste. Marie a safe place to call home (click HERE)
  • Syrian Refugee Support Group gets much-needed warehouse space (click HERE)
  • Syrian refugee family set to open Damascus Donair in Thunder Bay (click HERE)
  • A Syrian refugee says he found peace at a GTA vigil after mass shooting in his new country (click HERE)
  • ‘Part of our legacy’: Photography project gives Edmonton refugees new family portraits (click HERE)
  • This Syrian family has been reunited thanks to a unique partnership between a mosque and a synagogue (click HERE)
  • Multi-faith group welcomes recent Syrian refugees to Regina (click HERE)
  • Syrian sisters receive ‘miracle’ kidney transplants days apart (click HERE)
  • Syrian finds new life with help from his first friend in Fredericton (click HERE)

Backed with official documents acquired by Freedom of Information (FOI) request, The Rebel Media excursively exposed sexual harassment and assaults by Syrian students refugees in Fredericton high school. The first story was belatedly and shortly was reported by other media outlets with no follow-ups. The Rebel’s second report was ignored. In October 2016, The Mississauga Gazette published a story about incidents of alleged sexual harassment in a local high school.

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About CIJnews Staff

CIJnews Staff
CIJnews is an independent, dynamic and reliable online news source that serves the Canadian Jewish and Israeli communities and provides an uncensored platform for the spectrum of voices.

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