Waterloo police make arrest in Cambridge, Ont., mosque vandalism
No proof to support idea 'crime was motivated by racial or religious hatred,' police say
A man in Waterloo region has been arrested and charged in connection with severe vandalism of a Cambridge, Ont. mosque, but police say there is no proof the incident was a hate crime.
The vandalism of the Baitul Kareem Mosque occurred on July 14. Officers were called to the mosque at about 5:30 p.m. ET.
"Currently, the evidence does not support the inference that the crime was motivated by racial or religious hatred," Cherri Greeno, spokesperson for the Waterloo Regional Police Service, said in an email on Sunday.
A 35-year-old from Cambridge has been charged with break and enter, property damage over $5,000 and possession of stolen property, among other offences.
Greeno said in an email that the man was arrested on Friday.
In a news release, police said they believesomeone forced entry into the mosque, caused significant damage and stole property.
Police Chief Bryan Larkin said in the release: "Places of worship are sacred, and this criminal act cannot and will not be tolerated in Waterloo Region. Rest assured, we are actively investigating, and committing appropriate resources to this investigation. My thoughts are with our Muslim community as they cope with this destructive and hateful crime."
Waterloo region police's break, enter and vehicle theft team and hate crime unit investigated the incident.
In a news release Sunday, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada, an Islamic organization, said it is pleased that someone has been arrested and charged.
It said the damage was in the tens of thousands of dollars. At the time, it had said dozens of boxes filled with books and flyers were destroyed.
"We're overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support from Canadians across the country," Lal Khan Malik, national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada, said in the release.
"Our mosques will always remain open to all members of the community as a symbol of peace."