Mayor, MP show support for vandalized mosque
Gatineau’s mayor and the immigration minister attended a prayer service Friday at the Gatineau, Que., mosque that was recently the target of vandalism.
On Thursday, workers at the Outaouais Islamic Centre discovered swear words and derogatory references to Arabs and Allah spray-painted in white.
It was the second time the mosque, located off Saint Joseph Boulevard just north of St. Jean-Bosco Park, was hit by vandals in the last month. On Monday, someone smashed the windows of two cars in the parking lot attempted to set fire to them.
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney attended a prayer service Friday along with other politicians and police officers to support the community.
"It's always unacceptable," Kenney said. "There is no place in Canada for this kind of hatred or these kinds of acts, and we're just here to condemn it."
Kenney also issued a statement Friday condemning the acts of vandalism saying the government was "deeply disturbed" by the repeated crimes.
"Any act of vandalism is deplorable. But vandalism against houses of worship of any faith is particularly cowardly and hateful," he said in a release. "Our government strongly condemns these heinous attacks that have been terrorizing the whole community."
"Our government strongly condemns these heinous attacks that have been terrorizing the whole community," the statement said.
Community still reeling
Gatineau's Mayor Marc Bureau remarked that such a crime has not hit this community before these two incidents.
"I'm here to support the community," Bureau said. "It's very important for me to be here today, because this community is in this district for more than 10 years, and it's never happened before."
Although the community is still reeling from the double attack Nabil Ghaddab, a member of the Gatineau Muslim community, said the support they’ve received from the community has helped in the healing process.
"We are very confident that we have all this support, and we felt it, and we'll continue to work with these people to have a good life here," Ghaddab said.
The archbishop Paul-André Durocher also reacted to the vandalism in a statement Friday encouraging "tolerance" in the community.
"Every act of vandalism is an act of aggression not only against those whose property has been vandalized, but against society as a whole."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressed the attack in a French statement Thursday.
"Members of the mosque have asked for help in funding infrastructure and security projects and have received funding from our government."
No arrests have been made but police are currently reviewing a surveillance video and investigating this as a hate crime.