(Ottawa, Canada – 28/04/08) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) condemns the recent act of vandalism of a Montreal-area mosque in which one of the mosque’s walls were spray painted with graffiti. CAIR-CAN calls on the Montreal Police to ensure that this incident is investigated swiftly as a possible hate crime and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
In June 2008, the same mosque, the Turkish Muslim Association of Montreal mosque in Dorval, was vandalized in a similar manner, with similar handwriting, indicating that the perpetrators are likely the same as before. In both instances, the side of the mosque was spray painted with the word “Koran” and numbers that reference somewhat controversial verses of the Quran that are often taken out of their historical context and misinterpreted as implying that Islam teaches Muslims to wage wars against non-Muslims.
In a statement released today, CAIR-CAN said:
“The defacement of any place of worship is deeply offensive and hurtful. Islam promotes social justice, peaceful relations and understanding with our neighbours – both Muslims and non-Muslims. As with other religions, however, verses have and sadly probably will continue to be taken out context by hatemongers and extremists on the fringes who seek to further their personal or political agendas,” said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director.
“CAIR-CAN calls on local politicians and security officials in Montreal to demonstrate leadership by standing firm against all forms of hate, racism and xenophobia. They must investigate, as a matter of urgency, the repetitive targeting of this mosque as a possible hate crime incident and bring the criminals responsible to justice.
“CAIR-CAN encourages the people of Montreal and citizens of conscience across Canada to engage in outreach efforts. Only by strengthening relations with our neighbours and building bridges of understanding will Canadians stand truly united in defence of our democratic values. We must show hate groups that their malicious agendas will not be tolerated in civil society.”
CONTACT: Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director, 613.254.9704; 613.853.4111