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VIA Rail apologizes, says it’s working with National Council of Canadian Muslims in wake of viral video

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March 24, 2023
By Talent Canada

The VIA Rail logo.

VIA Rail is engaged in what it calls “constructive dialogue” with the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) after a video surfaced online.

In that video (below), a security guard at VIA Rail’s Ottawa train station is seen telling a Muslim man he is not allowed to pray inside. The video was first posted to TikTok.

“If I was doing something that was causing a scene, that’s a different story,” said Ahmed, who did not want his last name used, in an interview with CP24. “But if I’m minding my own business, it looks like I’m doing yoga, what is the real situation?”

The company called the incident “regrettable and saddening” and apologized to the entire Muslim community.


“VIA Rail strongly condemns Islamophobia as well as any form of discriminatory behaviour,” it said in a press release.

The company also said the conversation with NCMM focused on common objectives, “namely, to ensure that VIA Rail provides an inclusive environment where passengers and employees feel safe practising freedom of religion, including the ability to worship.”

VIA Rail said it will share its diversity and inclusion policies and training program with NCCM, and to work with the council on any improvements to help prevent these incidents in the future.

It also noted that NCCM has been in touch with the victim in this incident, and is “committed to working with all partners to ensure that we build a Canada free from Islamophobia.”

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