A group of young volunteers take turns guarding the grounds of an Edmonton mosque that has been vandalized with a swastika symbol.
“There are some things on every Muslim’s mind right now, especially following the attack that took place in London, Ontario on an innocent family,” said Safwan Choudhry, spokesperson. of the Baitul Hadi Mosque.
“This particular symbol has become a symbol of hatred, has become a symbol of division, and it has become a means of creating fear in people.”
He said in an interview on Wednesday that young members of the community took turns patrolling the mosque 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Edmonton Police said they were investigating the vandalism with their hate crimes unit.
A community member reported on Tuesday morning that someone had spray painted the large red symbol on the roof of the Baitul Hadi Mosque near the minaret, police said in a statement.
They said investigators believed the vandalism may have occurred in April – at the same time, a vehicle and fence were vandalized in an area near the city’s downtown area.
The same person may be behind all of the vandalism, police said.
But Choudhry said a member of the community only discovered the vandalism on Tuesday.
“And also, as you can imagine, it’s been almost 24 hours and we’re evaluating all (other) security options.”
He adds that there was no security camera pointing towards this area of the mosque, so someone had to climb the building with a ladder or with the support of another person to get to the roof of the mosque. building.
Imam Nasir Butt of the Baitul Hadi Mosque said the community is still in mourning after a Muslim family in London, Ont., Was hit by a vehicle earlier this month. Four family members have died, but a nine-year-old boy was recently released from the hospital.
“We are deeply disturbed by the rise in acts of violence against the Muslim community,” Butt said.
“This is not the path of Canadians, and we must work together to combat anti-Muslim sentiment.”
The mosque also said in a statement that the vandalism followed a report of threats made against an Ontario mosque on the same day the swastika was called out.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims said Tuesday that two individuals attempted to enter the Islamic Institute in Toronto illegally and made several violent threats.
The threats included bomb threats against the Toronto institution, the council said.
“We are extremely concerned and saddened that this incident has taken place in our beautiful place of worship,” said Fareed Amin, chairman of the institute’s board of directors.
“No community or place of worship should be subjected to such threats and heightened anxiety. “
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