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Nerves frayed after shots at Montreal Mosque


SURREY BC—A Montreal mosque, the Centre Communautaire Islamique Assahaba, reported that they were ostensibly targeted by a masked man firing an air gun at the windows of the mosque. No one was injured.
“This has been yet another devastating blow to the feeling of safety and security for Quebec Muslims,” said Yusuf Faqiri, Quebec Director of Public Affairs for National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). “It was only in September 2020 when we had the murder of Muhammad Aslim Zafis outside the IMO mosque in Etobicoke at the hands of a man with alleged ties to a white supremacist group. It was only on January 29, 2017 that we had the Quebec City Mosque.”
“While a fulsome investigation needs to be completed before we can understand the motivations of the attacker, it is clear that we all will have to work together to stamp out all forms of hate and Islamophobia.”
Many politicians have condemned the incident. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said while he was relieved that nobody was wounded, he was deeply disturbed by the vandalism targeting Montreal’s Centre Communautaire Islamique Assahaba earlier (April).” “It is quite unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, the tragedy of Quebec City was still fresh in the minds of the common people. They say we’ve not forgotten what happened, innocent people were killed. We’ve in this place Aymen Derbali who testified about what he was suffering in his body, so it was hard for the entire community, said Imam Adil Charkaoui who also works with Collective Anti-Islamophobia.
The president of Muslim Council, Montreal, Salam Elmenyawi, said: “Of course, we were terrified about our children. Children who come to mosque with parents trust us for their protection; all of this, of course, terrifies the community as someone seems easily pointing the gun and shooting.”
At the time of shooting, just before 7 p.m. Monday, 12 adults were taking part in an Arabic course inside the Centre Communautaire Islamique Assahaba in Montreal’s Rosemont. “There was no panic because they did not understand it was a gun outside,” said Charkaoui.
Fortunately, no one was injured and there was only material damage to the windows.
“It’s very important for police to make sure to find that culprit because if they go free then it’s going to be repeated,” said Elmenyawi.
Montreal police say their hate crimes unit is investigating the incident, collaborating with mosque officials, trying to identify possible suspects using the surveillance footage that was originally posted on the mosque’s Facebook page.
“The video and those pictures help the police first. And they help us to send a message to all society it was unacceptable,” said Charkaoui. All these are attacks on mosques; sometimes the same mosque was attacked three or four times, said Elmenyawi.
This mosque has been targeted before along with other places of worship last fall in a string of attacks. Community leaders are calling on the province to recognise the issue —also asking those of all faiths to adopt a stand against the violence.