Monday, July 21, 2014

NCCM condemns vandalism of Thornhill mosque

Urges political leaders to "tone down" rhetoric about Gaza-Israel conflict

(Ottawa - July 21, 2014) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) today is calling on federal politicians and elected representatives to denounce the recent vandalism of the Jaffari Islamic Centre in Thornhill, Ontario. 

According to media reports, the Islamic Centre was spray painted with stars of David and anti-Arab messages referencing the current Gaza-Israel conflict. York Regional Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.



"We forcefully condemn this craven act of hate and intimidation against the Canadian Muslim community in Thornhill towards the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. This is the second hate crimetargeting Muslim communities in four days. Last week, two Muslim students were swarmed in Hamilton after they left a local mosque," says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

"The references to the current Gaza-Israel conflict are particularly alarming. Our government's one-sided and uncritical support of Israel's military attacks now appears to be jeopardizing the safety of Canadian Muslims and Arabs. Canadians expect our elected representatives to be mindful about how foreign issues can impact diverse communities in Canada."

Following an attack on two Muslims last week in Hamilton, Minister of State (Multiculturalism) the Hon. Tim Uppal stated that "Canadians of all backgrounds must always feel safe in our communities."

"While we welcome Minister Uppal's statement, we believe that the government has a responsibility to tone down its rhetoric around the current conflict in the Middle East and speak out clearly against this latest attack on Canadian Muslims," says Gardee.

"While we do not believe this act represents the sentiments of the majority of Canadians, we urge community members in Thornhill and elsewhere to review NCCM's Community Safety Kit to secure their places of worship, to remain vigilant, and to immediately report any suspicious activities to local authorities and to the NCCM," says Gardee.

According to Statistics Canada, there are over one million Muslims living in Canada, representing 3.2% of the population.

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

CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, Executive Director, 613.254.9704 or613.853.4111