Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Recently obtained screenshots appear to show a senior recruiting manager from Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University posting a series of anti-Muslim diatribes and memes to a private Hindu nationalist Facebook group.
Diwakar (Danny) Sharma is Regional Manager for the university’s International Recruitment and Partnerships, according to his Facebook page and WLU’s website.
Screenshots show that he has repeatedly posted anti-Muslim graphics and messages, including one that apparently calls for the boycott of Muslims written above a graphic of a Muslim man praying on a mound of skulls. Surrounding the skulls are the names of countries associated with atrocities that involve Muslims.
Above the praying Muslim are the words, “Save Palestine.”
Sharma, as shown by the screenshots, posted the graphic in a Facebook group called Canadian Hindu Volunteers.
“They have invaded and massacred others and they stand together in dealing with non believers,” the post says. “World has changed its way to accommodate them, west welcomes them as refugees and within few years they want to implement ‘shariah law,’ they force the majority to change and accept ‘Allah’ as the only living god [sic].”
“Educate your children to be away from them,” the caption reads, listing ways to deal with the threat. “Don’t invest in anything which has that community as a promoter,” the text continues, adding “Don’t buy anything sold by them.”
The message pushes the now popular “creeping Shariah” conspiracy theory, which asserts that Muslim immigrants and refugees are gradually forcing Western governments and societies to accept rigid and draconian forms of Islamic law.
The screenshots also suggest that this isn’t the first or only time that Sharma has pushed such suggestions on Facebook. Another post shows him commenting on a message in the Canadian Hindu volunteers that calls for boycotting “anti India/Canada” businesses.
“Not to buy any commodity manufactured in Pakistan/Bangladesh and any Islamic country,” reads part of Sharma’s comment below the post.
Another post shows photos of people on the street with Palestinian flags and the caption, “Innocent citizens staying at home and jehadi’s on the street [sic]!” Another describes an apparent case of child rape in Syria with Sharma captioning, “Such atrocities take place in the world. The peaceful race has no fear of the consequences.”
Referring to Muslims as the “peaceful race” or as “peacefools” is a popular pejorative used to mock Muslims’ portrayal of Islam as a peaceful religion. This is particularly popular online among supporters of India’s current government, which subscribes to the ideology of Hindutva, a hardline politicization of Hinduism used to cast India as a primarily Hindu nation. This has created tremendous tension between the country’s Hindus and Muslims.
The post that calls for boycotting Muslims—which, like all these other screenshots/posts, include Sharma’s headshot and full name (Diwakar M Sharma)—also includes a recommendation that says, “Be proud of our Hindu traditions,” as if doing the latter necessarily means keeping one’s distance from violent and nefarious Muslims
A quick search shows that Sharma has now drastically limited his Facebook page, including hiding his professional titles and work history.
His current Facebook mini-bio now reads, “Peace lover and believer of equality of all colour, creed and faith.”
“These posts were brought to our attention over the weekend and we are investigating the matter with high priority,” says Graham Mitchell, Wilfrid Laurier’s Director of Communications and Issues Management. “The employee in question has been placed on leave pending the outcome of this investigation.”
“The posts do not in any way represent the perspectives or values of Wilfrid Laurier University. Laurier is committed to creating a culture that is inclusive and safe for everyone, and does not condone behaviours that promote hate, induce fear, or threaten people’s safety,” he adds.
After it was reported that law enforcement was investigating the posts, Waterloo police confirmed on Friday they would not be pursuing the matter further.
"Waterloo Regional Police received reports of offensive social media posts critical of the Islamic community. The Waterloo Regional Police Service's General Investigations Unit completed an investigation and spoke with the subject responsible for the posts," the WRP told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network in a statement. "As a result of the investigation, it was determined that there were no grounds for criminal charges. An investigation by Wilfred Laurier University is ongoing. Any further inquiries may be directed to Laurier."
Sharma did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.
Sharma’s public WLU bio says that he’s responsible for building the university's “presence internationally.”
“I have a vast knowledge and experience on border and immigration services and I’m in the process of acquiring certification as a regulated Canadian immigration consultant,” it also reads.
Sharma also has a personal website that describes him as an experienced motivational speaker/coach, as well as an “enthusiastic promoter of internationalization” and “a firm believer in diversity, equality, and inclusion.”
This article was updated to include comment from the Waterloo Regional Police.
Follow Steven Zhou on Twitter at @stevenzzhou.
This article is part of a project which has been made possible in part thanks to the the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and Sun Life financial.