Marrisa Shen, 13, was killed in Burnaby’s Central Park in July 2017. (Police handout)

Syrian community fears backlash after immigrant charged in B.C. girl’s death

Ibrahim Ali had come as a refugee from Syria 17 months ago

Canada’s Syrian community has reached out to head off any incoming backlash, a day after a refugee from that country was charged in the death of a 13-year-old B.C. girl.

“At this moment of deep sadness, we earnestly join all Canadians in mourning and hope that this terrible incident won’t result in a backlash against refugees,” Tareq Hadhad, who runs a Syrian-Canadian chocolate company, said on Twitter.

Ibrahim Ali, 28, of Burnaby has been charged with first-degree murder after Marrisa Shen was killed in a Burnaby park in July 2017.

Ali came to Canada as a Syrian refugee about four months before Marrisa’s death, police said. He had become a permanent resident, with no criminal record.

The charges have caused a stir on social media, with racial slurs and epithets hurled against refugees.

Investigators also said there was no evidence that religious ideology played any part in the killing.

“The Syrian community in Canada join their fellow Canadians today in shock and condemnation of the despicable homicide of young Marrisa Shen,” read a letter issued Monday afternoon from a group of prominent Syrian Canadians and refugee advocates.

They also expressed sympathy to Marrisa’s family and thanks to the police for tracking down Ali.

The Syrian community in Vancouver will be lighting candles for Marrisa at the provincial courthouse on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Ali is expected to appear in court at that time.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Neighbours help Sidney woman mark 103rd birthday with surprise parade

Barbara Chorlton celebrates her ‘best birthday so far’

Racism is here too, say Victoria’s black community leaders

White Victorians have role to play in combatting systems of oppression, prejudice

Shortage of foreign workers costs Saanich Peninsula berry farmer thousands

Gobind Farms says hiring local has been difficult during pandemic

Pedestrian, cycling overpass now open at McKenzie Interchange

Bridge connects Portage Road, Galloping Goose Regional Trail

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Most Read