Via Rail revisiting policies after Muslim man told not to pray at Ottawa station

Via Rail says it is working to improve its diversity and inclusion policy after Muslim men were told not to pray at Ottawa train station.

Via Rail and the civil rights group National Council of Canadian Muslims issued a joint statement saying they met Wednesday to discuss “an unfortunate and sad incident”.

The group “had a constructive dialogue following the regrettable and sad incident involving a man who was praying at VIA Rail’s Ottawa station,” the statement said.

“The conversation focused on a common purpose – to ensure that VIA Rail provides an inclusive environment in which passengers and employees can safely practice their religious freedoms, including the ability to worship. is.”

The man, Ahmed, told CTV News that after praying in an empty hallway at the station on Monday, he sat back down after a security guard approached him and told him he was not allowed to pray there. rice field.

“Please don’t pray here. I don’t want you to pray here. You’re disturbing other customers, aren’t you?” a security guard said in a video of the incident that went viral. pray.”

Ahmed, who did not wish to use her last name, said she was shocked, hurt and disrespected by the incident.

“He puzzled me. I was just fed up. Like, is this Canada? Is this the country’s capital? Is this Ottawa?” he told CTV News.

Employee Under Investigation Removed

Via Rail said in a statement Thursday that it has shared its diversity and inclusion policy with NCCM and will work with the group on “improvements that may be brought to prevent these incidents in the future.”

They also reiterated their apologies to the entire Muslim community for the incident and said they strongly condemn Islamophobia and any discriminatory behavior.

Via Rail said the security guard in the video was not a Via employee, but asked to remove him during the investigation.

“VIA Rail has asked our security subcontractor to remove him from any contract with VIA Rail pending the outcome of the investigation,” the spokesperson said.

NCCM is in contact with a man who was praying at the station.

“NCCM is also in contact with the individuals involved in the incident and is committed to working with all partners to build an Islamophobic Canada together.”

“VIA Rail is grateful to look forward to the guidance and support of the Muslim National Council of Canada in improving passenger and employee experiences, and we look forward to fostering a fruitful working relationship with them. increase.”

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