Damage to the front door of the Islam Care Centre at 375 Somerset St. near Bank is covered up with cardboard
The National Council of Canadian Muslims is calling on police services in Ottawa and Toronto to swiftly bring those targeting Muslims and their institutions to justice.
The Ottawa Muslim Association’s central mosque and the Islam Care Centre had several windows broken last week. A 27-year-old man was charged with two counts of mischief relating to religious property and one count of assaulting a police officer.
On Wednesday night, the centre was targeted again when someone left a hateful note and set fire to the building. The incident is being investigated and there are concerns that the perpetrator may be linked to a white supremacist group.
“The fire could have destroyed the food and clothing that we collect to distribute to the homeless and to the needy,” says Omar Mahfoudhi, executive director of the Islam Care Centre, in an NCCM release. “It’s troubling that anyone would try to hurt our communities in this way, impacting not just Ottawa Muslim communities, but the most vulnerable people that we serve across the city.”
The NCCM’s human rights officer, Sehrish Amjad, said community members are justifiably concerned about their safety and well-being.
“Our police services must do everything to assure communities that these issues are being taken seriously and that everything is being done to protect individuals and institutions. Our elected officials also have a role to play in speaking consistently against hatred. “
Ibrahim Hindy, a Toronto imam who has spoken in support of allowing Muslim prayer in the Peel District School Board, has been the target of threats in recent days. Other Muslim advocates and students have also been targeted.
The NCCM says it continues to call on police services to provide an annual report detailing hate crimes and hate incidents happening in their communities, as outlined in an open letter following the shootings at a Quebec City mosque in January.
Communities currently rely on data from Statistics Canada, which reports on police-reported hate crimes two years after the fact.