Same Citizen – Just Before Urging Crackdown On “Hate Speech” – Found Himself Smeared As A “Terrorist” By Another Area Citizen Inside Regional Headquarters
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted January 15th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – The following scenario went down at the December 14th, 2017 special meeting of Niagara regional council – exactly one week after St. Catharines Standard reporter – wrongly accused a using his computer to record a closed door session of regional council – had his computer and notebook seized, and was ordered to leave the regional headquarters building.
A young man named Mohamad Al Jumaily – a 23-year-old Niagara resident and university student, and a Canadian citizen who was born in Iraq and who also happens to be a Muslim and a volunteer on community bodies advocating for peace and understanding – was getting ready to deliver a short presentation to members of Niagara’s regional council over concerns he and others have about some relatively recent incidents of divisive words communicated by at least one member of that council.
Before the council meeting even got started and Mohamad got up to speak, another citizen in the regional council headquarters called him a “terrorist” in a voice loud enough for others to hear. And what did Niagara’s regional council do about it?
Well let’s put it this way. There was no move to remove the individual who targeted this young person with incendiary word the way St. Catharines Standard reporter was removed the regional headquarters a week earlier, under the watchful eyes of uniformed police and a stern looking regional manager.
When contacted later, Niagara’s regional chair, Al Caslin, was quoted in The St. Catharines Standard saying he and the council had no jurisdiction over the “terrorist” outburst Mohamad endured from that other citizen, which we will not name here, because the council meeting had not started yet.
Here is the chief elected officer of Niagara’s regional government and he is saying he has “no authority” and “no ability to do anything” about totally contemptible conduct that occurs inside the walls of a headquarters that is supposed to be the peoples’ regional home unless or until a meeting of councilors is underway?
In the same story, published in The Standard’s December 21st online edition, Caslin is also quoted saying that “the Region is a place that is open to all and we encourage participation from the community to come in and voice their opinions and to observe the decisions that are being made by council.”
The Niagara regional headquarters “is supposed to be an open and welcoming forum, and that’s what I’m hoping we can get back to.”
I have to admit, I came close to spiting up some of my morning coffee the first time I read that under a heading that read; ‘The Region is a place that is open to all: Caslin.”
Open to all, indeed.
If Niagara At Large started posting one story every day from people who have had less than an open and welcome experience in that regional headquarters when they came to make a presentation or to support someone making a presentation to Caslin’s council over the past three years, we probably still be posting their accounts right up to voting day in this coming October’s municipal elections.
Which brings us back to the presentation that Mohamad Al Jumaily made to the council – one we decided to wait until the end of the holiday season to post because it was so close to Christmas when many of us have our minds on other things – after he was so outrageously assaulted with a horrible name.
So here, on this Martin Luther King Day, is Mohamad Al Jumaily’s December 14th presentation to Niagara regional council, followed with a brief biography of his life which hardly reads like that of a “terrorist” –
“It’s quite unfortunate that we are here today discussing something that should’ve been fixed a long time ago.
Niagara is a wonderful diverse place… but, hate, racism, and bigotry is well alive around here.
We have seen that when some opinions are expressed on social media it has led some people to commit acts of violence. Few examples; we’ve seen ISIS sympathizers committing atrocious attacks against the communities they live within.
Likewise, we have seen one of Donald trump’s sympathizers commit a vicious attack against the Muslim community in Quebec. And our honorable prime minister has rightfully declared it a terrorist attack.
Those two examples are a strong indication that when individuals hold positions of power, they make a huge influence on others.
The fact that an individual is elected by the public implies that there is a significant support for their views. Therefore, politicians have an added responsibility when exercising freedom of expression.
Our code of conduct should include a recall process for any elected official that may endanger members of our community by expressing their radical views and opinions on social media or anywhere else.
And at this point in time, asking the province for a municipal recall policy regarding hate speech, would only be a reasonable request.
In other words, I’m sincerely hoping that this regional council would develop a motion requesting a recall and send it to the four MPP representatives of Niagara to fight for it at Queen’s Park.
There is only one example that I came across from searching on the net. There is a recall process in British Columbia, it allows constituents to start a petition after 18 months from the start of the electoral term.
I’m hoping that council would incorporate a similar request from the province.
Mr. Chairman I’ll be happy to work with anyone who is willing to take initiative here.
And I would like to thank you and the councilors as well as the staff for allowing me to speak tonight.”
Mohamad Al Jumaily was born on June 16 of 1994 in Iraq/ Baghdad. He has been in Canada for almost 12 years and since then has been living in his hometown, the city of St. Catharines.
Mohamad emigrated to Canada on August of 2006 and earned the Canadian citizenship in September of 2011 at the Niagara’s Folk Arts Center.
Mohamad has studied at Queen Mary Elementary School and attended St. Catharines Collegiate High School. He has a Certificate of Arts and Design Foundation from Niagara College, and is currently in the process of continuing studies at Niagara taking Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Human Resources).
Mohamad is a volunteer at the Kristen French Child Advocacy Center, and is a member of Crime Stoppers of Niagara. AlJumaily is a member of the Merritton Legion Branch 138, and a former member of Toastmasters International.
(A Footnote from Niagara At Large publisher Doug Draper – I think Niagara would be much better off if people like Mohamad Al Jumaily ran for regional council. As far as I am concerned, he can have Andy Petrowski’s or Al Caslin’s seat on the council right now.)
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