A man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat attended a vigil for victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings and was told to leave by upset mourners.
Last week, an Australian gunman opened fire in two mosques — Masjid Al Noor and Dar Al Hijrah in Christchurch, New Zealand — killing 50 people. Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old personal trainer who was charged with murder, was seen flashing the “OK” sign in court — a hand gesture associated with white supremacy. On Wednesday, police said Tarrant was stopped before he hit a third targeted location. “We absolutely believe we know where he was going,” said New Zealand police commissioner Mike Bush, according to NBC News.
Raneem Ayoub, an 18-year-old freshmen student filmed people’s reactions, tweeting, “My school held a vigil to honor the lost lives caused by the attack in New Zealand. This man showed up with a MAGA hat on purpose. This was taking place in Toronto. Before I started recording he was saying the vigil was meaningless.”
Posting this again with an explanation… my school held a vigil to honour the lost lives caused by the attack in New Zealand. This man showed up with a MAGA hat on purpose. This was taking place in Toronto. Before i started recording he was saying the vigil was meaningless. pic.twitter.com/qxZLrC5jDY
— رنيم (@raneemayoub) March 19, 2019
Ayoub tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “I saw he was wearing a MAGA hat and I was shocked since I’ve never seen it worn before.”
She tweeted that the man had argued with people paying their respects. “I don’t know much about the argument, but it was about the hat, judging from the gestures the guy next to him was making,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She also heard the man was making rude comments about the vigil.
Mourners told the MAGA hat-wearer, “There’s a f***ing massacre and you’re wearing a symbol of racism. Get the f*** out!” Others chanted for the man to leave and yelled “Shame!” and he left.
During the prayer, he was arguing with the two men next to him. Everyone else at the vigil ignored him until the vigil was officially over (out of respect of the victims and the event). No one approached him and disturbed the vigil until it was finished.
— رنيم (@raneemayoub) March 20, 2019
Ayoub doesn’t know the man personally, but she tweeted, “He’s also been known by other students for always showing up to events similar to this one wearing the MAGA hat.”
Hes also been known by sother students for always showing up to events similar to this one wearing the maga hat. Everyone seems to also be ignoring the fact that he was vocalizing disrespectful slurs about the vigil (this happened during the prayer when everyone ignored him).
— رنيم (@raneemayoub) March 20, 2019
“I was paying attention to the prayer, but a friend of mine could hear him say something like, ‘the vigil is meaningless,’ and apparently said that Muslims are doing this around the world,” Ayoub tells Yahoo Lifestyle. The man allegedly told members of the crowd he can stand wherever he pleases.
In a different version of the video, a person knocks off the young man’s MAGA hat while he exits.
Yanni Dagonas, the deputy spokesperson for York University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle:
“York is one of the most diverse and inclusive universities in Canada and our commitment to diversity and inclusion is a great strength. All community members are expected to conduct themselves in a way that promotes an atmosphere of civility, diversity, equity, and respect in their interactions with others. Our community should be able to enjoy a safe environment for work and study, free of violence, harassment, intimidation, and bullying.”
“We are guided by our values as an institution of higher education and remain committed to intellectual integrity, freedom of inquiry, freedom of expression, and equal rights and dignity for everyone,” Dagonas said. “Any student, staff or faculty member may file a complaint under the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (CSRR) if they feel unsafe or experience acts that are disruptive or diminish the rights and dignity of individuals.”
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