Thursday, 13 July 2017
Canadian landlord given $12,000 fine for wearing shoes while showing Muslim couple’s apartment to new tenant
A Christian landlord is reaching out to the public to help fight his unfair fine for offending a Muslim couple who was renting his apartment. 53-year-old John Alabi, who owns a rental property in Toronto, Canada, was ordered to pay a fine of $12,000 by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal for religious discrimination. The court found Alabi guilty because he did not take his shoes off when he entered his apartment that he rented to a Muslim Couple. The tenants were planning to move out of their rental home, and Alabi gave them 24-hour notice as required by law that he would be showing the apartment to a potential new tenant. The Muslim couple replied to him by text message that he should not to come while they were praying, and he agreed.
However, when they stopped answering their text messages, he showed the apartment. Alabi showed his rental apartment to the new tenant. When he reached the makeshift “prayer room,” the couple asked Alabi to remove his shoes, but he declined. The Muslim tenants reportedly waited eight months before filing their complaint with the human rights tribunal, where they receive free representation. The court accepted their argument that they were harassed by Alabi and that he failed in his duty to accommodate their religious needs. They ordered Alabi to pay the couple $6,000 to each of them. The reporter called the fine a Jizya tax. Alabi said that he does not have the money to pay the $12,000 fine. He must also take a course on Human Rights in Rental Housing. He reached out to Faith Goldy, a Rebel News Service reporter, who made his story public and asked people for help by starting a crowdfunding campaign for Alabi. However, the reporter said that supporters expressed that they do not want to help pay the fine. Instead, they want their donations to be used to fight the fine. Alabi, who came to Canada 22 years ago from Nigeria, said that the two year long legal battle has left him “shattered and broken.”
However, after seeing the outpouring of love and financial support from supporters, he is willing to go back to court and fight for his rights.