ALBAWABA - A Canadian rail company has run into hot water over a video that went viral on social media platforms showing a Muslim man to take his prayer outside the station because he could not pray inside it.
"We don’t want you praying in here," a uniformed security employee of the company, reportedly identified as VIA Rail, told the Toronto man inside the train station in the capital Ottawa, according major Canadian news outlets, including CTV news and CP24.
"You’re bothering our other customers," the employee told the man, whom CTV identified by his first name as Ahmed.
It said Ahmed was waiting for his delayed bus Monday to return to his home in Toronto when he decided to pray.
When the video, taken by bystanders and a colleague of Ahmed, went viral, VIA Rail issued an apology, saying it was investigating the matter.
"We want to apologize unreservedly to the individuals involved and to the entire Muslim community," VIA Rail said in a statement, posted on its website.
"Freedom of religion, including the ability to worship, is a human right and is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," it said. "VIA Rail strongly condemns and will not tolerate any form of discriminatory behavior."
“We don’t want you praying in here. You’re bothering our other customers.”— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 23, 2023
A Canadian rail company has come under fire over a video of a Muslim man being told he can’t pray in an Ottawa train station ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/Sd64cpT9fF
Ahmed said he was shocked by the incident. "I wasn't bothering anybody," he told CTV in an interview.
"I was on my own little corner. I wasn't even loud," he said. "It was just a lot to handle, so I ended up just sitting down. I was in a state of shock."