Muslim Council of Montreal condemns attack on Hasidic Jewish summer home in Val David

June 18, 2007

Montreal, Quebec, June 18, 2007- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) extends its solidarity to the Hasidic Jewish community of Montreal, following the recent fire attack on a cottage owned by the Hasidic community in Val David.

“This is not the first time the property belonging to the Hasidic Jewish community has been destroyed in Val David, and we fear it may not be the last,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “We call on the local authorities to act swiftly to investigate this attack as a hate crime and take the necessary precautions to ensure that the members of the Hasidic Jewish community are safe and protected. We are thankful that none were hurt in this attack.”

MCM laments the manner in which the recent debate over reasonable accommodation was carried out in the province of Quebec and believes the hysteria created by certain French media outlets served to increase hostility and fear towards minority groups.

“People became afraid of differences, they became suspicious of their neighbours. The government and the media have a responsibility to fight racism and discrimination and to defend the rights and freedoms of all citizens. They should not have taken part in setting the stage for the institutionalization of discrimination against minorities in Quebec,” Elmenyawi said.

MCM asks all visible minorities to take increased care of their safety and well-being, especially during summer travels to new places. MCM also reminds everyone to be swift in reporting any hate crimes, attacks or harassment they may be victim of, in order to properly document the occurrences and follow up with the authorities.