CANADA: MUSLIM STUDENTS SHAKY AFTER ATTACK
Students at École Les Jeunes Musulmans Canadiens (JMC) in St. Laurent are still feeling the effects almost a week after vandals caused $12,000 in damage to bus and school windows at their school.
"It's not just about the windows that were broken or the material costs. It's just shocking to see what impact this has had [on some students]," said Nabiha El-Wafai, the assistant principal of the elementary school.
"But the commander of the St. Laurent police station [Station 6] has made some community relations officers available to speak to the kids to reassure them that this is not something that will be repeated. It reassured them and this has helped things get back to normal."
According to Montreal police, rocks and bricks were thrown at school windows sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. The incident is being called an act of vandalism and not a hate crime, and police have not yet come up with any suspects.
Firas Maatouk, the school's bus driver, was the first to notice the damage when he arrived at the school at 5:30 a.m. Three of the bus's windows were smashed and the contents of the fire extinguisher was sprayed on the seats. Garbage from the bus was strewn everywhere.
"I was shocked," Maatouk said. He immediately called El-Wafai to inform her of the damage.
Upon hearing of the incident, Maatouk's son Karim, 6, was reluctant to go to school.
"He was scared. He was pretty anxious [about going] back to school," said Maatouk's wife Monia. "He didn't want to go. I had to bring him into the class because he saw all the windows and he's thinking like 'is it going to be affecting us?' or 'is it going to be dangerous for us?'
This is not the first time that the JMC has been the target of vandalism. Three years ago a bus window was smashed with a repeat incident the following year. The school has also received some bomb threats.