'It's definitely the fact that I'm a Muslim': Winnipeg rally organizer harassed on social media

'It's definitely the fact that I'm a Muslim': Winnipeg rally organizer harassed on social media

A week ago Omar Kinnarath was preparing for rally at the Winnipeg City Hall, now he is being relentlessly harassed online.

"I'm concerned for sure. I'm concerned about how my life is completely changed now," he said.

Kinnarath is the founder of FF1 — Fascist Free Treaty 1, which planned a rally in response to a different rally organized by the Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens (CCCC) against Motion 103, which calls on the government to "recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear."  

On Saturday, the handful of people who joined the CCCC protest at Winnipeg City Hall Saturday — one of a series of protests nationwide — were drowned out by hundreds who attended FF1's counter-rally. 

The large turnout to counter the CCCC rally was amazing, Kinnarath said.

A photo of Kinnarath dressed in traditional clothing for Ramadan was made into a meme and started spreading online. The meme said his employer's name and called Kinnarath a danger to society, also calling for a boycott of the company he works for.

"It's definitely the fact that I'm a Muslim. It's definitely the fact that I'm a refugee," he said.

"They think I'm a terrorist. They see pictures of me in traditional garb during Ramadan and they are flipping out and sharing my picture," he added.

The image was reported to Twitter and Facebook and Kinnarath said it has been taken down. He also spoke with his employer and apologized for what was happening but Kinnarath said his employer was empathetic about the situation.

However, the online harassment hasn't stopped since the rally with a barrage of Facebook messages, sometimes threatening, and other posts about him online.

"I had no idea there would be a need for this in 2017. It seems ridiculous to have an anti-fascist resistance," he said.

"I'm just staying vigilant and hopefully this is just trolls being trolls, like keyboard warriors, that's what I'm just hoping it is."