Beechville immigrant speaks out over nasty letter, nails left in driveway

June 17, 2016

By Cassie Williams, CBC News |

An immigrant from Lebanon whose family received a threatening letter that said “you are not a Canadian” and called them “pig” over the upkeep of their lawn, says she’s been touched by the subsequent support of her Beechville, N.S., neighbours.

The letter is one of two disturbing incidents this week for Zinah Al Jamil and her family, who also found nails scattered where she parks her car at their home in Beechville.

On Tuesday, Al Jamil said her father, who is new to Canada and doesn’t speak English, noticed something in the driveway.

“As he’s going back in the garage he notices a Ziploc bag — it’s the sandwich-sized one — with a paper in it, a white paper, sealed and it has a fairly big rock in it,” she told CBC Radio’s Maritime Noon.

“When I came down he showed me the letter and I instantly called the police.”

‘Fix it now pig’

The letter reads:

“You know we take pride in our community and people like you come in and make it look like a mess. Maintain your yard or see what happens to you and your home if you don’t. You are not a Canadian and maybe this is how your home looks in your country but we don’t want you messy yard and lack of upkeep ruining our community. Fix it now pig.”
“I thought it was a joke, to be honest with you, because I’ve been in Canada for 11 years and I’ve never encountered anything that’s like that. I never thought in a million years that I would,” said Al Jamil.

“When it sunk in, I realized that it really wasn’t a joke and it is a direct threat and I really need to call the police.”

Not sure if race has anything to do with it

Al Jamil, a permanent resident, and her sister moved into the Beechville neighbourhood of Halifax in January 2015. Her parents just came from Lebanon three months ago on a visitor visa and are currently filing the immigration paperwork so they can stay.

She said her lawn is always mowed and “beautiful.” Al Jamil said there was a spot her mother was letting grow so she could pick out the weeds and leave a wildflower patch.

“She let it grow for a couple of inches, that’s it. So I know it’s not about the yard,” she said. “Maybe I said or did something I never meant to do and I do apologize if I did — me, or my family.”

Al Jamil said she’s not sure whether being Lebanese has anything to do with it and that she’s never been made to feel that way in this country.

“This is why I wanted to live in Canada because in Canada I know that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, what religion you’re from,” she said.

“Nothing matters except you as a person, so this makes me upset and mad at the same time because — just get to know us first and then decide if we’re ‘messy’ or we’re ‘pigs.'”

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