Syrian refugees in canada
An unidentified man pepper sprayed Syrian refugees outside the Islamic Center in Vancouver. Picture: DATE IMPORTED:December 19, 2015Syrian refugees receive winter clothing as they arrive at the Pearson Toronto International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, December 18, 2015.Reuters

A group of Syrian refugees at a welcome meeting outside the Islamic Center in Canadian city Vancouver was pepper-sprayed by a man in a white hoodie on Friday night. The motive for the attack is not known.

The Vancouver Police Department is looking for the man who attacked the group of Syrian refugees, being welcomed by the Muslim Association of Canada at the Islamic Centre in Kingsway, with pepper spray and fled on a bike, reported CTV News.

People at the event are disappointed that a positive event, meant for integrating the refugees into Canadian life, turned sour due to the event.

There had been an increase in attacks on Muslims in Canada since the Paris terrorist attacks, which had left the Islamic community shaken. A mosque in Ontario had been set on fire, and a woman was beaten outside an elementary school in Toronto, among other such violent incidents.

Canadians have, however, come together through various campaigns like fund-raising for the blazed mosque and other social media campaigns to promote communal harmony and solidarity among citizens.

Canada, which had pledged to house 10,000 Syrian refugees by 1 January, had recently opened its doors to them. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum said by 1 January, 6,000 Syrian refugees came to Canada and the target of 10,000 would be completed by mid-January.