UPDATED: Laurier staff member placed on leave after allegedly sharing Islamophobic Facebook posts
Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of Islamophobia that readers may find upsetting.
An employee at Wilfrid Laurier University has been placed on leave after being accused of sharing Islamophobic posts on their personal Facebook account.
Laurier is conducting an internal investigation regarding the matter and has yet to release the identity of the employee.
According to Kitchener Today, the posts that are being investigated include “lists of ways people should boycott Muslims,” as well as photos from the Kitchener-Waterloo Palestine Rally that took place on May 15 with a caption calling the participants “Jehadis.”
“These posts were brought to our attention and we are investigating the matter with high priority. The employee in question has been placed on leave pending the outcome of this investigation,” Graham Mitchell, director of communications and issues management, said in an email statement on behalf of Laurier.
“The posts do not in any way represent the perspectives or values of Wilfrid Laurier University. Laurier is committed to creating a culture that is inclusive and safe for everyone, and does not condone behaviours that promote hate, induce fear, or threaten people’s safety,” Mitchell said.
The Laurier Students’ Union released a statement regarding the ways they can “best support our students impacted by the ongoing events in Palestine & Israel.”:
Links to the resources listed in the post can be found here.
The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW (CMKW) released a press statement and identified the alleged poster as Diwakar Sharma, regional manager of international recruitment and partnerships at Laurier.
“The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW (CMW) is extremely concerned over the blatantly racist and Islamophobic messages reportedly shared by Wilfrid Laurier International Student Recruiter Mr. Diwakar Sharma (Danny),” the statement said.
“The hateful rhetoric that was reportedly shared on social media is very distressing and worrisome. The CMW believes in institutional and personal accountability. We hope to see a public statement from Wilfrid Laurier University on this. If the said posts meet the standards of a criminal hate speech, we would like it to be investigated by law enforcement authorities as such.”
“We would also like to know how the administrators of the social media group allowed such messages to be posted multiple times.”
“That being said, once accountability has been established, the CMW believes in the process of Restorative justice, and not punitive or penalizing justice. We believe that if the harm doer takes responsibility for their actions and is open to face the harmful impacts they have created, there is an opportunity to learn, heal and change,” the statement concludes.
More information to come.