A Canadian landlord says he was “humiliated” after being fined $12,000 for wearing shoes in a Muslim tenant’s home, Fox News reports.
John Alabi, 52, told the Toronto Sun that he went far out of his way to accommodate the Egyptian-born couple over the two months they’ve lived in the apartment.
“I go beyond all that. I just see everybody as human beings like me. That’s why I took them in,” Alabi told the paper. “We got along. And then all of a sudden I’m a racist?”
The Human Rights Tribunal in Ontario ordered Alabi to pay the couple $6,000 each after he failed to take his shoes off while showing the home to potential renters.
The couple had terminated their lease two months after moving in.
The tribunal also accused Alabi of “harassing” the couple.
“I was humiliated, I was made to feel I have no rights, I was made to feel that I’m not wanted in society,” Alabi said. “I feel powerless. They rented my place for only two months. Two months! It’s just not fair.”
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Alabi told the news site the couple never had an issue when he wore his shoes in the home to do repairs. Then they filed a grievance eight months after the last incident, the Toronto Sun reported.
“I have been victimized,” Alabi said. “They are using their religion to victimize me.”
The couple even found a Facebook post on Alabi’s page to help their case. The landlord claimed he doesn’t have the money to pay the fine on top of legal fees.
“I don’t have the money. I work very hard. If they go into my bank account right now, I don’t have $12,000 there,” Alabi said, adding that he has rented the space for 15 years to help pay his mortgage.