General News

Local man removed from council position at Macville Public School following alleged ‘Islamophobic’ tweet

May 14, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Written By ALYSSA PARKHILL

A local man is fighting back against claims he is Islamophobic after a controversial tweet he made last week led to his firing from a Brampton real estate firm and removal from a community council position at a Bolton elementary school. 

The City of Brampton recently passed through a new bylaw that would allow mosques to play their daily prayers over their outdoor speakers during the month of Ramadan. 

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown tweeted on April 30, stating, “Our noise bylaw originally passed in 1984 only included an exemption of church bells. It will now include all faiths within the permitted hours and decibel levels. The Muslim community can proceed with the sunset azan because it’s 2020 and we treat all faiths equally.” 

One local resident disagreed with this new change. 

In response to Brown’s tweet, realtor Ravi Hooda criticized the bylaw, making his feelings known in an explosive post online through Twitter. 

In a message that has since been deleted, Hooda said “What’s next? Separate lanes for camel and goat riders, allowing slaughter of animals at homes in name of sacrifice, bylaw requiring all women to cover themselves from head to toe in tents to appease the peace fools for votes.” 

Hooda spoke with the Citizen on Tuesday (May 12), explaining his reasons for going public with his controversial views. 

“My intent was to oppose the exemption and the bylaw, which will open up the pandora’s box with other places (of worship). By the tweet, I meant that such kinds of measures were required or necessary in the past, when it was a pretty aggressive environment. We didn’t have the means of communication. People used to live in a different way,” he explained. “We all used to live in a different way. I think we’ve become too sensitive. If my name would have been different, from another particular community, the tweet would have been taken in a different way. I was concentrating on the bylaw; I was tweeting to the mayor. It wasn’t directed to any particular person or community.”

Hooda has since claimed that the tweet was misinterpreted and has followed up with an apology message to anyone who was hurt by his words. 

“Some of my previous tweets have been misinterpreted and have caused hurt to members of our community,” he tweeted immediately after his deleted his previous tweet. “I apologise to those who may have been hurt and assure that I will take due care in expressing my views to incorporate better understanding. Vasudaiv kutumbkam (we are one family).” 

He would go on to tell the Citizen, “It just went haywire. I don’t know what happened. It seemed that people were taking it in the wrong manner. So, I deleted the (original) tweet.”

Hooda has been getting hateful phone calls and threatening messages over his post. Anti-hate groups have targeted him online and he says they have been encouraging others to attack him. 

“Hateful would be a very small word. There are particular groups who are hell bent on harassing me and my family,” said Hooda. “Freedom of expression, it seems, is only going one way. It’s a very overwhelming situation.” 

Hooda was a realtor for RE/MAX Canada and sat on the Peel District School Board council for Macville Public School in Bolton. 

Principal of Macville Public School, Robin Perri, released a statement to parents and the community following Mr. Hooda’s comments. 

“We want every member of our school community to know that they belong and that they are welcome,” stated Perri. “Comments like this do not help us create these inclusive and safe spaces. We must continue to live our shared values, to be caring, cooperative, honest, respectful, responsible and inclusive, and we must demonstrate respect for one another, all students, families, volunteers and other members of the school community. 

RE/MAX also expressed that they didn’t share the same views as Hooda, stating, “RE/MAX does not share, nor support his views, and we can confirm that he has been terminated and is no long affiliated with RE/MAX,” read a statement made by RE/MAX Executive Vice President Christopher Alexander. 

While Hooda says he has been made to feel like the villain over the past week, he believes he’s a victim of people jumping to conclusions and putting a negative spin on his words. 

“I’ve been very let down by it. I’m the one whose freedom of expression was lost. It’s puzzling that the voice of people who just think differently or want to voice their opinion, you brand them, and kill their voice. It’s like bullying,” he remarked. “If you say something, or oppose something, people come after you.”

So, what does the future hold for Ravi Hooda?  

“I’m discussing with friends and family and looking into what recourse we have. This thing has slowed down, I wouldn’t say stopped,” said Hooda. “For the reason that if it happened to me, it could happen to anyone else, so I do want to stand up, but I want to do it the right way and see what my options are.”

The final question we had for Mr. Hooda was, what would he like to say to the community? 

“I would like to say that we live in a democracy and in a civil society, people hold diverse views and it doesn’t necessarily mean that that if you’re disagreeing with somebody, you’re disagreeing with their backgrounds or their race or their religion or their way of life,” he explained. “In democracy, this is normal to have a discussion on a bylaw or a law. This is Canada. We should be able to discuss, and freely express our opinions without being judged and labeled.” 



         

Facebooktwittermail


Readers Comments (0)


You must be logged in to post a comment.