Things may have gotten a little too real for these YouTube filmmakers.
When York University student Omar Albach assembled his cast — a young man dressed in Muslim garb and another pretending to be a Muslim-hater — the idea was simple: to gauge how average Canadians felt about Islam in the wake of several high-profile incidents.
Over and over again, the Muslim character was heckled loudly by the other character and told he couldn't get on the bus due to a terror threat.
And, over and over again, the young man's efforts to get bystanders on the hate train met with failure. At every turn, the 'hater' was scolded, yelled at, shamed — at one point, a man said, "I'm sorry, but this is a friend of mine. I'm with him too."
Finally, the actor took a punch in the face.
Canadians appeared to have no taste for the Islamaphobia he was peddling. What's more striking perhaps is the setting Omar Albach, who is of Palestinian descent, chose for his social experiment — Hamilton, Ont.
That's where the body of Nathan Cirillo was laid to rest this week in a moving ceremony that drew onlookers from across the country. The soldier was killed by a lone gunman while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa the week before. The suspected gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, was quickly denounced by the prime minister as a terrorist.
One of the crew members, the young man pretending to hate on the ostensibly Muslim man, later identified himself as Devin Giamou.
It seems, he felt the need to join the YouTube comment fray to clear things up.
"I'm the guy that got punched in the video, I thought I would clarify a couple things," he wrote in the video's comment section. "I'm not actually a racist asshole like I portrayed in this video. I knew the guy who played the part of the 'terrorist' and he's a cool guy who played his part very well."
Responses to his clarification range from correction — "Islam is not a race" — to approbation — "Please keep doing thought-provoking videos like this."
Posted on YouTube on Monday, the video has already been viewed more than 270,000 times. But this isn't Albach's first viral video. That distinction belongs to a video the 18-year-old produced in the summer, called "Hug A Terrorist."
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