Islamophobic graffiti prompts police investigation as

The London Police Service (LPS) is investigating a potential hate crime after graffiti calling for genocide against all Muslims was found in the stairwell of a south-end apartment building. 

The words written on the wall in what looked like black marker said “Kill All Muslims” and was posted to social media by the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) on Monday.

The organization and police would not reveal the exact location of the message, except to say that the building was located near Wellington Road. At the time of publication, the graffiti had been removed from the wall, police said. 

The discovery of the hateful message didn’t surprise Nusaiba Al-Azem, the legal director at the NCCM, as she says she’s heard many such stories in the last few weeks.

“We’ve been absolutely inundated with incidents across the country that have been extremely shocking and vulgar,” Al-Azem said.

“I think it would shock a lot of Canadians [to discover] just how much Islamophobia has run rampant,” she said.

woman in front of home with flowers
Nusaiba Al-Azem is the legal director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). She says that reports of Islamophobia going through the NCCM has increased by 1250 per cent since last week. (Provided by Nusaiba Al-Azem)

The LPS declined an interview, but in a statement said it is not aware of any credible threats to Muslims in the city at the moment. On Friday, it did increase police presence in areas of cultural and religious significance, including at the mosque and at the Jewish Community Centre. 

The London Islamic School (LIS) said it’s gone further, and has hired private security due to concerns of “disturbing comments on social media”, according to an email sent to parents on Tuesday.

“Targeting a community that is still traumatized […] from the London family attack is very triggering,” said Nehal Al Tarhuni, president of the Canadian Palestinian Association.

“We feel very unsafe, isolated and alienated.”

Leaders with various community organizations agree that the ongoing trial of Nathaniel Veltman in the killing of the Afzaal family continues to inflict trauma on the community.

The federal government alongside the Canadian Race Relations Foundation recently donated more than a quarter million dollars to a London non-profit to help people deal with that trauma.

Police-reported hate crimes targeting Muslims rose by 71 per cent between 2020 and 2021 across Canada according to a 2023 Statistics Canada report, making them the second most targeted faith just behind Jewish practitioners.

Anyone with information related to the graffiti, or any other acts that could be motivated by hate, is encouraged to contact London police at 519-661-5670.

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