London

London police investigate swastika vandalism at Muslim newcomer home

London police are investigating after a Swastika symbol was etched on the front door of a home belonging to a Muslim newcomer family.

The incident happened at a building along Wonderland Road South

(CBC News)

London police are investigating after a swastika symbol was etched on the front door of a home belonging to a Muslim newcomer family.

Police said the incident was reported on Saturday, March 16 — the day after two mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, claimed the lives of 50 people.

The vandalism happened at a west-end apartment building located along Wonderland Road South.

"The London Police Service was made aware of property damage to a door. The damage does appear to have hate motivation behind it," said Const. Sandasha Bough.

Bough said the incident is being investigated as a property damage occurrence and anyone with information is encouraged to contact police or Crime Stoppers.

CBC News corresponded with family members who did not wish to speak publicly for safety reasons.

'Don't be fearful'

News of the incident circulated in the city and reached many members of the Muslim community including Ali Chahbar, who's involved with the London Muslim Mosque outreach committee.

Though he was "shocked," Chahbar said London is not immune to incidents that could be motivated by hate.

"London is a peaceful and very accommodating and loving city but it happens everywhere," he said.  "There is ignorance and not enough information or education. You will find it in the most benign places. It's rare, but it still happens."

He encouraged members of the community, especially those who identify as Muslim, to stay strong.

"Don't get into a rut or be paranoid and don't be fearful. Some of the intention behind terror is to have people change the way they conduct themselves and the way they live and to take the wind out of their sails. Our reaction should be no, not at all," he said.

"I'm going to be much more defiant, proud and confident about who I am and where I live."

The circumstances around the incident remain unclear.