Man charged after allegedly threatening worshippers at mosque in Markham, Ont.
The Canadian PressNews
A mosque north of Toronto has increased security measures after a man was arrested for allegedly shouting Islamophobic slurs and threats outside the facility and driving his vehicle straight at a worshipper.
York Regional Police announced the arrest Sunday and said they’re treating the Thursday-morning incident at the Islamic Society of Markham as a hate-motivated attack.
“We know that our congregation is a strong and loving community,” a statement from the mosque said. “Our security and logistics team have taken additional steps to keep worshippers safe in the next days of Ramadan.”
Police alleged the man showed up at the mosque shortly before 7 a.m., right after dawn prayers.
After the man allegedly drove at the worshipper, Sgt. Clint Whitney said, he left in his vehicle, driving dangerously.
“Members of the hate crime unit attended the mosque to offer support to its members,” Whitney said in a press release.
The 28-year-old suspect was arrested in Toronto shortly after midnight on Friday and has been charged with uttering threats, assault with a weapon and dangerous driving.
The mosque itself alleged the man went into the building, ripped up a Qur’an and delivered an Islamophobic rant, though Whitney said that hasn’t been reported to police.
“Thousands of congregants attend the ISM, and the centre is much busier because of the sacred month of Ramadan,” the mosque said in a statement.
The local member of Parliament, Trade Minister Mary Ng, said she was “deeply disturbed” to learn of the alleged attack.
“During Ramadan, mosques are places of community and peace — and everyone should feel safe in their place of worship,” she said in a tweet Sunday. “This violence and Islamophobia has no place in our communities or in Canada.”
The Islamic Society of Markham planned to hold a news conference Monday to provide more details.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2023.
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