EDITORIAL: Graffiti crosses into hate speech

While vandals have often used rude words and tasteless slogans, this goes far beyond what should be tolerated by this community.

Racist graffiti removed from a fence by City of Salmon Arm crews on Nov. 18.

This week, we were alerted to a situation that saddened and disappointed us.

A woman called to let us know of graffiti that had been scrawled on a fence on part of the Rotary trail between Okanagan College and 20th Street NE.

Nothing that out of the ordinary – until you considered the message inked on the boards.

“Kill all Islamic Muslims,” it read.

While vandals have often used rude words and tasteless slogans when marking up public property, this goes far beyond what should be tolerated by the people of this community.

This is ugly, nasty racism. This is hate speech. This is not welcome here.

The vast majority of people living in Salmon Arm would agree with the view that such a statement is hurtful, offensive and vile. Our citizens have proven this by the warm welcome that has been extended to the city’s seven Syrian refugee families.

While the offending words were quickly scrubbed away, the distaste lingers as the message lingers.

Anyone with information about the culprits should be contacting the RCMP. The Criminal Code of Canada states every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of an indictable offence. Seems pretty fitting in this case.