Marrisa Shen, 13, was killed in Burnaby’s Central Park in July 2017. (Police handout)

Syrian community fears backlash after immigrant charged in B.C. girl’s death

Ibrahim Ali had come as a refugee from Syria 17 months ago

Canada’s Syrian community has reached out to head off any incoming backlash, a day after a refugee from that country was charged in the death of a 13-year-old B.C. girl.

“At this moment of deep sadness, we earnestly join all Canadians in mourning and hope that this terrible incident won’t result in a backlash against refugees,” Tareq Hadhad, who runs a Syrian-Canadian chocolate company, said on Twitter.

Ibrahim Ali, 28, of Burnaby has been charged with first-degree murder after Marrisa Shen was killed in a Burnaby park in July 2017.

Ali came to Canada as a Syrian refugee about four months before Marrisa’s death, police said. He had become a permanent resident, with no criminal record.

The charges have caused a stir on social media, with racial slurs and epithets hurled against refugees.

Investigators also said there was no evidence that religious ideology played any part in the killing.

“The Syrian community in Canada join their fellow Canadians today in shock and condemnation of the despicable homicide of young Marrisa Shen,” read a letter issued Monday afternoon from a group of prominent Syrian Canadians and refugee advocates.

They also expressed sympathy to Marrisa’s family and thanks to the police for tracking down Ali.

The Syrian community in Vancouver will be lighting candles for Marrisa at the provincial courthouse on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Ali is expected to appear in court at that time.


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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