NCCM denounces arson of Peterborough mosque; calls for hate crime investigation

Says such acts « do not represent » Canadian society

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – November 15, 2015) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent Muslim civil liberties & advocacy organization, denounces the arson of a mosque in Peterborough, Ontario, which happened Saturday night.

According to media reports, a fire broke out at the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association’s mosque, Masjid Al-Salaam, at approximately 11 p.m. on November 14th. No one was inside the mosque at the time.

« This attack is very disturbing. The mosque is regularly attended by families with young children. We are relieved no one was injured as this incident could have been much worse, » says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

« While deeply hurtful and offensive, Canadian Muslims know that such acts do not represent the views of the vast majority of their fellow Canadians or of the residents of Peterborough. We call on authorities to investigate this arson as a hate crime so a clear message is sent that these acts have no place in our communities.

« We commend elected leaders for their strong messages of support including from the Honourable Maryam Monsef, MP for Peterborough-Kawartha and Minister of Democratic Institutions. It is also heartwarming to note that the local St. John’s Anglican Church has already started to raise funds to help the Muslim community rebuild its place of worship. These are the efforts that truly reflect the compassion, mutual care and respect Canadians have for one another.

« We urge community members across the country to remain vigilant and to immediately report suspicious behaviour to the proper authorities, as well as to the NCCM, in order to establish a clear record of such incidents. There is typically a spike in hate incidents and crimes reported to the NCCM following tragedies like the Paris attacks or negative media coverage involving Muslims and Islam. Some police services have already reached out to local communities to offer assurances that they are aware of the potential for backlash and are ready to respond appropriately, » says Gardee.

The NCCM’s Community Safety Guide provides tips and information about keeping Muslim institutions and congregations safe. The NCCM also presents workshops to educate communities about their rights and responsibilities when confronted with a possible hate crime.

The organization maintains a database of reported hate crimes and incidents which are regularly updated on its online tracking map , launched last June as part of an awareness campaign.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit grassroots advocacy organization that is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.

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