Muslim leaders have condemned “violent and vile Islamophobia” toward the Imam Mahdi Islamic Centre in Thornhill, Ont., describing current incidents as “a really severe matter” for the Muslim neighborhood in the Greater Toronto Area in explicit, and Canada in basic.
At a information convention on Thursday Nadia Hasan, chief working officer of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), outlined “a troubling collection of occasions,” saying the Muslim neighborhood has been thrust into the highlight for all of the improper causes.
According to Hasan, the centre, situated north of Toronto, has been “focused” for some weeks now with “sustained Islamophobic actions, together with threats, vandalism and harassment.” The assaults started across the time unrest erupted in Iran after a girl died on Sept. 13 whereas in the custody of the regime’s morality police. Mahsa Amini, 22, had been arrested for “unsuitable apparel.”
She offered the next examples of the “violent and vile Islamophobia just lately directed in opposition to the centre,” which was established by Iranian-Canadian Muslims in 2004.
- The phrase “demise to clergymen” was spray painted onto its partitions.
- Someone mentioned that “it is obligatory to bomb the mosque.”
- Someone threatened to purposely contract COVID-19 and spit on the congregants.
“This has been devastating to witness,” Hasan mentioned.
She added that the centre has a big and peaceable congregation that contributes to the social cloth of the Thornhill neighborhood, together with a number of youngsters and aged who’re a part of the membership.
“These disgusting threats and actions haven’t any place in Canada,” Hassan mentioned. “An complete neighborhood and faith should not be demonized in this manner because of the actions of some individuals the world over.”
“Yet once more, we see marginalized communities focused regionally due to occasions abroad,” Hassan added.
In a information launch Thursday afternoon, York Regional Police (YRP) mentioned investigators are looking for a suspect and witnesses after stories of “hate-motivated graffiti” discovered on the Imam Mahdi Islamic Centre.
Police mentioned a male suspect went to the centre at roughly 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 13 and spray painted three areas of the mosque with “derogatory, anti-Iranian language,” written in Farsi, aimed in direction of the Iranian authorities.
Police gave the next description of the suspect:.
- Approximately 5’10”.
- Thin to medium construct.
- Face coated, probably with a bandanna.
- Wearing a brief jacket, baseball cap, denims and light-coloured sneakers.
Police say investigators are looking for assist from the neighborhood to determine the suspect and are asking any witnesses, anybody with data or video surveillance footage in that space, to come back ahead.
Meanwhile, Hasan mentioned the assaults usually are not deserted incidents.
She mentioned analysis performed by the NCCM reveals greater than 1,000 hateful messages on-line in the previous two weeks, all directed at Muslims in Canada.
“There have additionally been hateful rallies outdoors mosques in British Columbia, and Muslim college students on campus are being harassed and threatened,” Hasan mentioned.
The Muslim neighborhood in Canada has been sufferer to over 1,000 Islamophobic messages on Twitter alone in simply these previous few days. <br><br>These embody demise threats, threats of violence, and constant harassment. <a href=”https://t.co/vqB6pUU9YZ”>pic.twitter.com/vqB6pUU9YZ</a>
“Up in Richmond Hill, MP Majid Jowhari was additionally labelled a terrorist. Some have known as Muslim Toronto Police Service officers terrorists.”
Hasan mentioned “this sort of Islamophobic backlash is totally unacceptable, regardless of what’s taking place in different elements of the world.”
“Islamophobic voices and forces have spent copious quantities of time falsely portraying the Mahdi Islamic Centre as a terrorist entity, an anti-woman group or an agent of the federal government of Iran,” she mentioned.
Nayereh Akbarzadeh, a member of the centre who spoke on the information convention, mentioned plainly some individuals “have been simply reacting to anger and hatred with much more anger and hatred,” including that that is one thing that “wants consideration.”
According to Akbarzadeh, behaviours much like what has been taking place on the mosque may be comprehensible for Iranian individuals who have been “dwelling underneath corruption, sanctions and oppression.”
But she mentioned, “right here in Canada … we’ve the power of simply educating ourselves to have the ability to have peaceable dialogue and actually educating our youngsters how actual justice will appear like.”
“This is not going to be taking place if we don’t educate ourselves and our youngsters that we ought to be tolerant,” Akbarzadeh added.
Working carefully with regulation enforcement
Hasan mentioned the NCCM has been working carefully with regulation enforcement, together with York Regional Police (YRP), to make sure that members of the Muslim neighborhood are secure and safe.
Additionally, NCCM has been working with all ranges of presidency for clear denunciations and commitments to motion, and has heard from a variety of politicians who’ve put out clear denunciations of what’s taking place on the centre.
In their information launch, YRP mentioned they do not tolerate hate crime in any type.
“Those who victimize others based mostly on race, nationwide or ethnic origin, language, color, faith, age, gender, gender identification, gender expression sexual orientation, or psychological or bodily incapacity can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the regulation,” the YRP information launch mentioned.
Meanwhile, Const. Amy Boudreau, YRP media relations officer, mentioned it is unlucky when there is a international occasion taking place, native communities are being affected.
She warned that “any sort of crime that’s hate-motivated or targets any sort of group” can be investigated
“There’s individuals in the neighborhood which can be enormously affected after they’re focused, whether or not it is vandalism, hate speech or any of these forms of issues,” Boudreau mentioned.
It has a really huge affect on our neighborhood and it will not be tolerated in our area.”