Muslim community calls for harsher penalties against hate crimes as vandals target mosque and synagogueMarch 24, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Montreal, Quebec, March 24th, 2010- The Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM) strongly condemned the recent hate crimes against a Waterloo mosque and a Montreal synagogue.
“Such hate crimes are heinous attacks on the values of respect, peace, tolerance and freedom that we all hold dear in Canada,” stated Salam Elmenyawi, president of MCM. “We call on Waterloo and Montreal police authorities to act swiftly to investigate these hate crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. In addition to strengthening the application of current laws, new policies and laws are needed to effectively fight hate, racism and discrimination within our society. A clear message must be sent out that hate crimes are atrocious acts which absolutely will not be tolerated.”
Vandals smashed windows at the Waterloo mosque on Friday March 19th and spray-painted offensive messages on the walls. At the Ahavath Israel d’Chasidei Viznitz synagogue in Outremont on Saturday March 20th, vandals defaced the bima (podium) with swastikas and threw prayer books and prayer shawls on the floor.
MCM urges all officials and members of the community to exercise increased caution and report any suspicious individuals or activity to the authorities immediately. MCM further calls for harsher penalties and zero-tolerance for all hate crimes and religious discrimination and 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.
MCM also encourages all members of the community to fight crimes of hate, fear and suspicion by the strengthening of relations with those of other faiths and backgrounds. MCM will be conducting its Annual Mosque Open House program with mosques around the city in early June, to continue its efforts of fostering social harmony, respect and understanding.
Muslim Council of Montreal (MCM)
Ph.: (514) 748-8427
Fax: (514) 747-9139
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.