OC Transpo investigating video of Islamophobic tirade on bus

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OC Transpo investigating video of Islamophobic tirade on bus

OC Transpo is investigating after a video surfaced online showing a man screaming insults directed at Muslim passengers on one of its buses.

The racist tirade, captured on a cellphone by a Muslim high school student, shows a young man yelling, "F--k Islam!" three times followed by, "You're not welcome in this country! And if you want to fight we are going to have a busload of f--kers that fight with us!"

It's unclear from the video — which has been uploaded to YouTube and Facebook — who the man is directing the insults at. When he walks to the front of the bus the driver is heard telling him to get off.

Before taking that advice, he yells, "The race war is coming! The race war is coming!"

The video was shot by Jawad Ghandour, a student at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in downtown Ottawa.

Ghandour told CBC News he posted the video to educate people about the insults being directed at Muslims.

"[It was] really shocking. Like, I never knew something would happen like that in the capital of Canada," he said.

Ghandour said he shot the video on a No. 97 bus when it was stopped at the Lees transit station. He was unsure of which day he shot it, but he said he believes the incident took place at the end of February.

Jimmy Sharify, a friend of Ghandour who also witnessed the incident, said the man appeared to be shouting at a passenger wearing a turban and another man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent.

"It was pretty offensive to me, and I think it was offensive to everyone who saw the video," said Sharify, who is also Muslim.

OC Transpo 'appalled'

OC Transpo's security unit became aware of the video several days ago after they were alerted by a member of the public.

"We were quite appalled by it and it was assigned for investigation immediately," said Gord Robinson, a staff superintendent with OC Transpo's special constable unit.

OC Transpo has identified a potential suspect, Robinson said, adding that the agency will share the results of its investigation with the Ottawa police hate crime unit. 

It's too soon to say if OC Transpo will take its own measures against the man in the video, Robinsoin said.

Watched nearly 100,000 times

Ghandour and Sharify, meanwhile, said they've never uploaded such a popular video before.

It was first posted on Ghandour's YouTube page, O'Town Productions. Since being shared on Facebook it's been viewed nearly 100,000 times.

Both students said they believe the election of U.S. President Donald Trump has acted as a catalyst for verbal abuse.

"Now people are more confident in saying things they would not usually say," Sharify said. "And they think they have the law with them, when they really don't."