Montreal police investigating after hateful graffiti spray painted near Saint-Léonard Islamic centre

Montreal police are investigating after a hateful message was scrawled on a wall near the Badr Islamic Centre in the borough of Saint-Léonard.

The graffiti was quickly removed, but it showed a swastika and a hanging man along with the message: “KILL ALL MUSULMAN BASTARD (sic).”

The symbol for the Schutzstaffel, commonly known as the SS, appears to have been drawn on the brick wall. The SS was a paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

The word “pigs” was also written along with a misspelling of Israel, written “Isaël.”

The centre’s Imam Mujib Rahman said the event led to a state of anxiety and fear among worshippers and visitors. People were shocked by the violent language used in the graffiti.

The imam is calling for peace and non-violence. But Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, said the hateful graffiti is upsetting for the community.

“It’s not only graffiti,” said Majzoub. “It is a threat of killing — mass Muslim killing.”

The vandalism is adding to the tensions already affecting the city during the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Majzoub said hate toward Muslims has been increasing across Canada, with bullying at schools and workplaces.

He said there are incidents like spitting from car windows and threatening people, especially Muslim women, who openly show their faith.

There have been complaints made to the police, but not all incidents are reported, he said.

hateful graffiti
The message was sprayed on a brick wall near the Badr Islamic Centre in Montreal’s Saint-Léonard borough. (Radio-Canada)

In this case, Montreal police said in a statement that there have been four hate crimes against Arab-Muslim communities in the 10 days following Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel and killed hundreds.

There have been 12 hate crimes committed against Jewish communities in that time, police said.

There have been 11 hate incidents against Arab-Muslim communities and 25 against Jewish communities, police said.

A hate crime is a criminal offence motivated or suspected to be motivated by hate based on factors such as race, national or ethnic origin, language or sexual orientation.

Montreal police say a hate incident is a non-criminal act that may affect the sense of security of a person or an identifiable group.

Montreal police continue to follow events in the Middle East, the statement says.

“Although they are geographically distant from us, we are aware of their impact on the feeling of security of the population, and particularly of the communities involved in the said conflict,” says the statement.

“To this end, we have taken measures and in particular put in place a visibility plan around places of worship and other places of interest.”

Montreal police are asking the population to remain vigilant, as hateful actions “are unacceptable and we take them very seriously,” the statement says.

Majzoub said hate crimes against Muslims have been on the rise for some time and “we are very worried.”

He is calling on politicians to use caution when they speak about the tensions to ensure they aren’t causing more harm than good. He said his group is working to ease tensions, staying in close contact with the community and police.

But he said Montreal police are staying on top of the matter.

People have to remember that “we are all Montrealers,” Majzoub said, and diverse communities are living together peacefully in the city without incident, regardless of what is happening in the Middle East.

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