A farmer who moved to Calgary five years ago as a refugee says he is sad and and scared after his farm has been repeatedly vandalized.
Mohamed Eldaher and his wife came to Canada as refugees from Syria in 2016.
He was offered a few acres of land northeast of Calgary from a friend and started a business growing and selling specialty organic vegetables. Each year, he donates a portion of his crops to the Calgary Food Bank.
“It’s hard work,” Eldaher said. “Every day I am here with my family. If the weather is hot or if the weather is raining or if it’s cold, we are here every day.”
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But on Saturday, Eldaher found that someone broke the gate at his farm and drove over his crops. They did not not drive them over just once, he said. Tire tracks show that someone drove in circles, crushing his hard work.
“I don’t like to say what has happened because I’m afraid,” Eldaher said. “I don’t like my wife to be afraid.
“I’m worried about my family.”
This is the first time Eldaher told anyone about what happened. However, he said it’s not the first time this has happened. He said every couple of weeks he needs to haul away garbage that is dumped on the property.
He said two months ago someone drove through the property and tried to push his newly constructed greenhouse down.
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“I would ask him, ‘What did I do to you? If you have any problems with me, come talk to me face to face,’” Eldaher said.
The man who owns the land is a Calgary business owner who is worried that Eldaher’s family may be targeted because they’re Muslim.
Abdullah Chybli said there’s never been problems on the property until Eldaher started farming there.
“Our community is on edge because of the recent hate crimes,” Chybli said.
“I certainly hope this isn’t hate-related but we have to take our precautions. We are afraid for Mohamed and his family.”
He said he’s planning to enhance security on the property.
The vandalism has been reported to the RCMP. The repeated incidents have left Eldaher worried about his family.
“I’m very sad and I am worried for the future. What will be happening to my greenhouse in the future?” he asked.
But Eldaher said he’s encouraged by people who have posted online offering to come to his farm this weekend to help build up what someone else tried to take down.
“There’s a lot of requests to help, whether it’s volunteering or security,” Chybli said.
“Everyone is asking, so there’s engagement and I think awareness is going to be a big part of the safety factor for Muslims and for this particular farm.”
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