National Muslim advocacy group denounces attempted firebombing of Quebec mosque
-For Immediate Release-
(Ottawa – May 20, 2014) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties advocacy organization, today denounced the recent attempted firebombing of a mosque in Montreal, Quebec. According to a report the suspect attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail through a window at the Centre communautaire islamique Assahaba on Bélanger St. before threatening officers with a sword. The report goes on to say that this is the fifth time since April that the mosque has been the target of vandals.
See: Montreal Gazette – Man tasered at Islamic centre in vandalism stakeout
See: CBC News – Attempted firebombing of Canadian mosque
« We call on community leaders, interfaith partners, and elected officials at all levels, to unequivocally denounce this act as a hate crime against the Montreal Muslim community, » says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
« Most importantly, we are relieved that no one was injured in this attack which was a cowardly attempt to intimidate local citizens. Despite the seriousness of the incident and the potential for serious injury, we do not believe this act represents the sentiments of the majority of citizens of Montreal, or the majority of Quebecers, » adds Gardee.
« The attack comes on the heels of the recent highly divisive and rhetoric-laden election in the province around the issue of the Charter of Values. This would seem to indicate that much work remains to repair the societal damage done by the proposed values charter and the discord it sowed. The new government must speak out against this and work harder to help foster a safe and equitable province for all Quebecers. »
« The attack is also the second high profile attack on a place of worship in a week. On May 16, 2014, St. Martin de Porres church in Ottawa was vandalized and robbed. Attacks on places of worship can be particularly harmful as they are designed to intimidate entire communities. »
See: CBC News – Communion tabernacle stolen from Bells Corners church
Community members in Quebec and elsewhere are advised to reference NCCM’s Community Safety Kit to secure their places of worship and to remain vigilant. Any suspicious activities should be reported immediately to local authorities and to NCCM so a clear record of these incidents can be kept.
In recent years, similar incidents of vandalism of mosques or mosque construction sites have also occurred in Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal, Hamilton, Waterloo, Vancouver, Guelph, Winnipeg, Durham and Charlottetown.
Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director 613-254-9704 or 613-853-4111
Amy Awad (French interviews), Human Rights Coordinator 613-254-9704