Last Sunday the Islamic Society of Markham (ISM) said that the attack on the Jam’e Mosque was hate-motivated.
The ISM reported that a man came to the mosque on Denison Street and upon entering, apparently tore a copy of the Qur’an while directing racist and Islamophobic rants toward worshippers. He then attempted to run over worshippers with his van.
The ISM noted that the attack happened during the holy month of Ramadan, when the mosque was particularly busy.
York Regional Police said a 28-year-old Toronto man is in custody following the attack.
There have been a number of anti-Muslim hate attacks in some Canadians cities in recent years. These include the June 2021 hit-and-run on the Afzaal family in London, Ont.; the fatal stabbing of volunteer caretaker Mohamed-Aslim Zafis outside a Toronto mosque in September 2020; the January 2017 attack on a mosque in Quebec City where six men were killed and dozens of others were seriously wounded; and at least six hate-motivated attacks on Black and racialized Muslim women in Edmonton in recent months.
In April last year worshippers at a mosque in Mississauga, Ont., were attacked with bear spray in what authorities said was a “hate-motivated incident.”
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said in a tweet, “We have been greatly distressed to learn about an apparent violent hate crime at a Markham mosque, where an individual yelled slurs, tore up a Qur’an, and attempted to run down worshippers in his vehicle.”
NCCM is Canada’s largest Muslim advocacy organization, according to its website. The independent, non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots human rights, civil liberties and advocacy organization is headquartered in Ottawa and has offices in the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, London, Edmonton, and Saskatoon.
York Regional Police said investigators have charged a 28-year-old Toronto man with several criminal offences “after the suspected hate-motivated incident.”