Two weeks ago, news broke that Toronto teen Brandon Van Dither was involved in an anti-Muslim assault at Sherbourne subway station. He is now considered the poster child of Islamophobia in Toronto, which has had a significant effect on his reputation and safety. Yesterday he stepped out to tell his side of the story in an interview.
According to Van Dither, the dispute started when a Muslim woman stepped on his shoe. He looked back at her, a look that may have been considered hostile by the women, and it took off from there. However, he explains that he never made any comments pertaining to the two women’s race or religion, and, in fact, that the women did: at one point one of the women allegedly said that him and his friend, who are of black race, were “behaving like monkeys”.
He apologized that they had a dispute in the first place and that he made some rude remarks, but he explains: “I never made a racist comment. I have Muslim friends myself and I go to a school full of Muslim people, so I would never make a comment that’s just out of the plain rude, just towards one culture for no reason. I had no issue with them except that they stepped on my shoe”. When asked if he thinks they deliberately accused him of calling them terrorists just to get sympathy, he explained: “I don’t know if they did it for sympathy or did it for attention, because all of the stuff that’s going on, but all I know is that I’m put in a position where I can’t go back to my school because people think that I’m a racist and people think that I’m just not a good person and not a trustworthy person. They just think all I’m trying to do is just cause problems, and cause trouble for the TTC [but] I’m just trying to ride the TTC just like everyone else”.
Do you buy this kid’s version of the story?
For the full story and video, click here.