Toronto

Police now say no formal investigation into anti-Muslim rally outside Toronto mosque

Toronto police now say they are not formally investigating an anti-Muslim rally held Friday outside a downtown mosque — one day after indicating the incident was being probed as a possible hate crime.

Multiple complaints received about rally, police say, but no 'formal' complaint yet

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. (SafiahC/Twitter)

Toronto police now say they are not formally investigating an anti-Muslim rally held Friday outside a downtown mosque — one day after indicating the incident was being probed as a possible hate crime.

On Saturday, police told CBC Toronto they were investigating whether the incident — which saw more than a dozen people converge on Masjid Toronto as Muslims prayed inside calling for a ban on Islam — crossed the "fine line" between freedom of expression and a criminal act.

Asked what that line is, Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook responded Saturday, "That's a conversation we've been having all day."

​Police said they received multiple complaints from those present at the mosque Friday, as well as others who read about the incident in media reports. 

But a day later, they said no formal investigation has been launched as no formal complaint has been received.

No complaint has since been received from the mosque itself, Douglas-Cook said.

On Friday, some told CBC Toronto the rally taking place on the mosque's doorstep blocked them from going inside for congregational prayer. Muslims hold Friday to be the holiest day of the week.

"This was a clear attempt to intimidate the Muslim community," the civil liberties organization National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement Saturday, adding the community is "deeply disturbed that such an incident would happen at all, let alone following the tragic killing of six men at a Quebec City mosque just a few weeks ago."

The statement goes on to say it's unclear if any threats were made against mosque attendees but that anyone with information should immediately contact Toronto police.

Those in support of the rally have described it as peaceful and an expression of free speech.

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