News / Saskatoon

Local man reports threats as result of filing human rights complaint

A Saskatoon man who filed a human rights complaint in an attempt to get prayer removed from municipal events, says he has received intimidating messages and alleged threats as a result.

Ashu M.G. Solo, an interdisciplinary researcher, engineer and mathematician said he decided to file the complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commissions (SHRC) after a prayer by city councilor Randy Donauer was read at a civic volunteer appreciation banquet. Solo said he has seen a number of unsettling messages.

“I saw on Facebook that people were discussing my complaint and one person left a message saying, ‘Hey atheist, I hope someone kills ya’.” He added, his race, appearance and atheist beliefs have been subject to similar attacks.

Solo said he believes prayer at municipal events does not reflect a diverse community.

“I think it makes all non-Christians feel like second-class citizens,” said Solo.“I was extremely surprised, extremely offended and extremely angered that there was a Christian prayer to start the event because it was an extremely diverse audience.”

“It was really not appropriate,” said Solo.

However, Mayor Donald Athcison said the city—at this time—has no intentions to change policy for municipal events and they will be waiting for the SHRC’s response.

“We’ll carry on as the way we have right now and we’ll just wait for provincial human rights commission to look at his complaint,” said Atchison. “Quite frankly, there has never been any direct dialogue with him at all—he’s done all of his dialoguing through the media, and now it’s at the human rights, so we’ll just leave it there.”

When asked about the alleged threats, Atchison said he doesn’t condone them, but said they do happen.

“I certainly hope people wouldn’t be doing things like that, but councillors and mayors certainly receive those types of things too, from time to time and it’s certainly disturbing and upsetting for everyone,” said Atchison. “We live in a society where people can certainly express their point of views and we would hope people would express them in a lawful type manner.”

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