A homemade bomb that exploded at the entrance to a Jewish community centre in Snowdon late Tuesday has some members of Montreal’s Jewish community demanding police set up a permanent hate-crimes squad.

Police were called at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday by employees of the YM-YWHA Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre, also known as the Snowdon Y, who heard an explosion at the facility’s main entrance on Westbury Ave.

No one was injured in the blast, no damage occurred to the building and no threats or claims of responsibility have been reported, police said.

But Joachim Normand, executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Quebec Region, said the incident has shaken the community.

“We are stunned at this appalling attack on a Jewish community institution, which is doubly offensive because once again this attack comes as Jews celebrate Passover,” he said.

Normand said the incident brings back painful memories of the firebombing of the Skver-Toldos Jewish Boys School in Outremont on Sept. 2 last year, and the firebombing of a United Talmud Torahs school in St. Laurent on April 5, 2004. There was extensive damage in both those attacks, but no injuries.

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations also condemned Tuesday’s attack, noting a Muslim school in St. Laurent was the target of vandalism on the night of Jan. 16. Rocks and bricks were thrown through windows and doors were broken at Les Jeunes Musulmans Canadiens in that incident. No one was injured.

“Criminal attacks against religious and community institutions do nothing but create tension in our neighbourhoods and cities,” said Sarah Algazzar, Montreal co-ordinator of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.


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