Toronto

National Muslim group concerned about 'hateful gathering' outside Toronto mosque

A national Islamic group is expressing alarm about a small anti-Muslim protest held Friday in front of a Toronto mosque.

National Council of Canadian Muslims says demonstration was clear attempt to intimidate Muslim community

More than a dozen people gathered outside a mosque in the heart of downtown Toronto with loudspeakers and banners in hand, shouting slogans about banning Islam as Muslims gathered to pray inside. (Facebook)

A national Islamic group is expressing alarm about a small anti-Muslim protest held Friday in front of a Toronto mosque.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims says the demonstration, reportedly consisting of about a dozen participants, was a clear attempt to intimidate the Muslim community.

Images on social media showed the protesters carrying signs with anti-Muslim slogans as worshippers were entering the mosque.

The executive director of the National Council says it's "deeply" disturbing that such a protest would happen, let alone after last month's slaying of six men at a Quebec City mosque.

Ihsaan Gardee says it's critical that Canadians confront hatred in their communities.

The group says it's unclear if any threats were made against mosque congregants, but anyone with such information should contact police.

Police haven't received formal complaint

Toronto police say they've been called by outraged people who read media reports about the demonstration but as of Saturday afternoon, they hadn't received a formal complaint.

The protest came as Parliament debated a motion condemning Islamophobia and racism.

The debate has sparked many racist and sexually derogatory messages against both the Ontario MP who made the motion and Heritage Minister Melanie Joly who took an active role in the parliamentary debate.

The issue also attracted the attention of Premier Kathleen Wynne on Saturday.

"There is no place for Islamophobia in Ontario. Thankful for those who stand with the Islamic community against hate," Wynne tweeted.

It was not immediately clear if she was referring to Friday's protest or the issue of Islamophobia in general.

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