A mosque and a church with a black pastor are the fourth and fifth buildings to be spray-painted with racist graffiti in Ottawa this week, and police are investigating the possibility the incidents might be linked.
The front doors of Parkdale United Church, at the corner of Gladstone and Parkdale avenues, were spray-painted with two Swastikas and the word "n--gers," as well as the numbers 14 and 88. The number 14 refers to a white supremacist slogan, while 88 stands for "Heil Hitler."
The front doors of the Ottawa Muslim Association on Northwestern Avenue were spray-painted with the words "F--k Allah," "Go home, "666," and a swastika.
The Ottawa police hate crimes unit is investigating.
Rev. Anthony Bailey told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Friday he was "shocked" to hear about the graffiti at Parkdale United Church, and that "this is a wave of hatefulness that seems to have been generated. People feel emboldened to do this.
"It is shocking, but we as a congregation and as people of faith reject this. We are outraged, but we will not be deterred in our work for love and reconciliation, and bringing people together," Bailey said.
Ahmed Ibrahim, speaking for the Ottawa Muslim Association, called the graffiti on the front doors of the mosque "very bad, very scary.
"It's hate, it's just hate. Ottawa is a beautiful city, it's full of love for everyone, it is welcome to everyone," Ibrahim said. "This graffiti is telling me, 'go home.' This is my home. ... Canada and Ottawa is my home. It is the Jewish groups' home, it is the Christians' home, it is our home. Nobody has the right to say to anyone, go home. This is home for us."
'Don't want to give these people notoriety'
Insp. Mike Laviolette told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Friday that publicizing these incidents is "a
"You don't want to give these people notoriety, you don't want to give them the publicity that they're looking for, but at the same time if we don't make it public, then it's one less tool for us to help solve these crimes," he said.
"We rely on the public to help us out and share any information that they have that could lead to capturing these people."
Laviolette said it's too early to tell whether all of the incidents this week are related, but that police are exploring that possibility.
"There are certainly similarities with the first three incidents targeting Jewish institutions, so that's certainly a theory that we're exploring," he said.
Again more racist graffiti at a church and a mosque overnight. These actions are disgusting and not reflective of our community. /2— @JimWatsonOttawa
Parkdale United Church targeted earlier this year
This isn't the first time Parkdale United Church has been spray-painted with anti-black graffiti. It was similarly tagged in January ahead of a special service honouring Martin Luther King Jr.
Bailey told CBC News at the time that the vandals spray-painted the word "n--gers," as well as "Tupac," presumably a reference to the American rapper who was shot dead in 1996.
The two Friday incidents follow three other acts of anti-Semitic vandalism targeting the Jewish community this week:
- Ottawa woman wakes to find anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on her home
- Anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on Machzikei Hadas synagogue in south Ottawa
The Kehillat Beth Israel Synagogue was also spray-painted.
A public gathering will be held at the Machzikei Hadas synagogue in Alta Vista at 11 a.m. Saturday in an effort to give thanks for the support the congregation received in response to the racist vandalism it experienced, the congregation's rabbis wrote in a statement.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa police Chief Charles Bordeleau are expected to attend.