Need for greater vigilance and penalties against hate crimes, as Muslim center in Montreal is attacked on day of EidSeptember 30, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, Quebec, September 30th, 2009- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) calls on government and police officials to enact stricter laws against hate crimes, following the recent attack on a mosque/Islamic community center in Cote-des-Neiges. Vandals attacked Masjid Tebah, located on avenue Van Horne, in the early hours of September 21st, 2009.
“In the past few years, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of attacks against our mosques, community centers and schools,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “We need more concrete measures from government and police officials to put an end to such despicable crimes. There are a few mosques that are even attacked 3-4 times a year. It is especially alarming to see how the attacks often coincide with hate messages against Islam propagated by number of talk show hosts.”
MCM calls for harsher penalties and zero-tolerance for all hate crimes and religious discrimination and also suggests that the federal government initiate a countrywide campaign to raise awareness of hate crimes and racism within Canadian society and to fight these social ills.
“In addition to strengthening the application of current laws, new policies and laws are needed, in order to effectively fight hate, racism and discrimination within our society,” Elmenyawi said. “A clear message must be sent out that hate crimes are atrocious acts which absolutely must not be tolerated in our society, or in any society. This is a criminal act of hate not just on one center, but on the values of respect, peace and tolerance that we all hold dear in our nation.”
The attack, which included the use of rocks to smash windows, occurred on the same day as the Eid-al-Fitr festival. The annual celebration of Eid-al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the month long period of fasting for Muslims.
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
Ph.: (514) 318-8928
The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) is an umbrella organization representing a number of Islamic institutions in the Montreal region. There are over 200,000 Muslims in Montreal, about 900,000 in Canada and 1.7 billion worldwide.