Small group protests sexual interference sentence outside downtown Nanaimo cafe

Aladdin’s Cafe scene of small protest after owner receives “weak” sentence for sexual interference

A small group of people lined the edge of the sidewalk on Victoria Crescent Thursday, bearing signs that slammed the owner of Aladdin’s Cafe.

Members of the group were speaking out against Talal El Bakkar, Aladdin’s Cafe owner, and what they say was a weak sentence of three months, to be served in prison on weekends, with three year’s probation.

The sentence was handed down by Judge Douglas Cowling, in provincial court in Nanaimo, Nov. 9, when El Bakkar pleaded guilty to sexual interference with a person under 16.

“We’re protesting because we feel that we want a stronger sentence for the crimes that were committed and we also do not like the fact that the restaurant is still being run…” said Amy Savage, one of the protesters.

RELATED: Nanaimo restaurant owner sentenced for sexual interference

Savage went on to say the protest was staged in hopes of gaining media attention and to foster public discussion.

“I worry that the community is very angry with what’s been going on and there have been rocks thrown and graffiti and I don’t think that is the correct way to go about handling it,” Savage said. “But I unfortunately worry that the community’s still angry and that it’s going to escalate and I feel that something that could help de-escalate what’s going on is to potentially shut down the restaurant.”

The restaurant has been the scene of protests and vandalism in recent weeks. The cafe’s front windows were smashed sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday, but was open Thursday afternoon with several customers patronizing the cafe during the protest.

“Look what they do to my windows … My family’s the one that built, pays taxes, creates jobs,” El Bakkar said. “They’re all a bunch of welfare cases, you know. All my customers support me. They know who I am. I know who I am. I come from a good family.”

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said he was not aware if a complaint about the property damage had been filed with police, but if one had, it will be investigated.

“That’s unacceptable,” O’Brien said. “The courts have decreed their decision and whether people choose to accept it or not, vandalism to property is unacceptable and if the incident’s been reported we’ll certainly investigate it and hold those people accountable.”



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Monster Truck Chaos comes to Victoria, tickets on sale Friday

Monster Truck Chaos rumbles into Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Jan. 25 and 26

Parents plan second rally as CUPE 441 strike in SD63 stretches into third week

Parents have written to the provincial government asking them to step in

Victoria immigration lawyer has rights revoked after lying to many clients

James Edward Turner will not be eligible to practise law again for 10 years

Peninsula Panthers face nemesis Victoria Cougars Friday night

Cougars are the only Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League team to have beaten the local Cats twice

West Shore RCMP arrest man accused in Port Renfrew theft, Duncan fraud

Man stole two phones and wallet, spent nearly $300 in fraudulent charges

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Woman airlifted with serious injuries after being struck by car in Nanaimo

Woman, hit in crosswalk, suffers life-threatening injuries; driver co-operating with police

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

One dead after fiery crash in Duncan

A man has died after a fiery motor vehicle collision Monday night,… Continue reading

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Vancouver Island substitute teacher said he wanted a student to ‘whack’ two others on Grade 8 field trip

Campbell River teacher-on-call suspended three weeks after November 2018 incident

Most Read