Cut Hate with Hair at Edmonton’s Chop Shop draws dozens of supporters

Dozens of people turned out to support the Chop Shop Barber Shop Sunday at its anti-racism fundraiser, a month after it was the target of Islamophobic and racist vandalism.

The shop raised money through an event called Cut Hate with Hair, with proceeds going toward the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights, an organization that does human rights education and training in Edmonton.

“I never expected this,” shop owner Ahmad Akkashe said of the turnout. “It just shows the Edmonton that I know and that we want for our kids and our families and each other.”

In early December, Akkashe drove up to his barber shop with his four-year old son to find the words “Kill Muslims” and “Kill Lebs” along with a swastika, spray painted in red on the windows.

Edmonton-McClung MLA Lorne Dach came by for a haircut a few days after the incident. After speaking with Akkashe, they decided to organize the Cut Hate with Hair event.

“Any time the hate crimes raise their head they have to be opposed. Silence emboldens those with those messages,” Dach said. “So we as a community, I believe, have to come together at every opportunity when we see these evidences of hate crimes bring themselves forward to oppose them. Otherwise, they’ll grow. 

Edmonton-McClung MLA Lorne Dach and Alberta Party leader Stephen Mandel were among the supporters at the Chop Shop fundraiser.

Police-reported hate crimes targeting Arab or West Asian populations doubled between 2016 and 2017 in Alberta, up from 15 to 30 incidents.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada also show hate crimes targeting Muslims in Canada more than doubled in 2017, to a total of 349 incidents.

Akkashe said the message to his son on Sunday night, a month after they drove up to the barber shop together to find the hateful messages, would be a message of compassion and unity.

“I want to recognize all the miracles of other cultures,” he said. “We all learn from one another.”



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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