Man charged after windows broken at main Ottawa mosque, Islam centre

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Police have charged one man after Ottawa’s central mosque on Northwestern Avenue and the Islam Care Centre were hit by vandalism this week.

The suspect turned himself in to police after calling them Wednesday to report the vandalism, police said Friday.

Investigators were able to confirm that windows were broken at both the mosque and care centre and then arrested the man. Police allege that the man assaulted one of the arresting officers.

Shawn Le Guerrier, 27, has been charged with two counts of mischief and one count of assault police.

In a Facebook post, the organizations said windows were broken at the two buildings early Wednesday morning. There were no injuries.

“It’s always distressing to see our places of worship targeted in this hateful way. We call on the police to investigate these incidents as potential hate crimes,” said Naeem Malik, president of the Ottawa Muslim Association, in a Facebook message posted posted Thursday night. “We know that such acts do not represent the sentiments of our fellow Ottawa neighbours and community members.”

The damages to an upper floor window at the mosque were quickly repaired, but the care centre’s front door had a cardboard patch on Friday.

The OMA mosque and several other Muslim institutions have been targeted before.

“It is important for community members to report suspicious activities to the police,” said Omar Mahfoudhi, executive director of the Islam Care Centre in the release. “It has just gotten easier to report hate crimes through an online form the police are now providing. That should help people feel more comfortable coming forward.”

Ottawa police announced earlier this week that it had added hate crime reports to its online reporting system.

The online system is for non-urgent reports and are reviewed every 24 hours.

The mosque was the target of racist graffiti and a suspicious package scare in 2016.

An Ottawa teen is to be sentenced in May after pleading guilty to a series of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti attacks in November.

The youth admitted to spray-paint attacks at Parkdale United Church, at Parkdale and Gladstone avenues, the Ottawa Mosque, and three Jewish sites: Kehillat Beth Israel congregation near Carling and Kirkwood avenues,  Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Featherstone Park and a small prayer centre in the Glebe.

ottawacitizen.com

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