Charges laid in mosque attack near Cambridge, Ontario, involving thousands of dollars of damage

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      Charges have been laid in a break and enter and vandalism at a Cambridge mosque in Ontario.

      At press time, Waterloo Regional Police have yet to formally make an announcement in the July 14 incident.    

      But according to a statement released on Sunday (July 18) by the Muslim community group Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at at Canada, a suspect has been arrested and charges have been laid in connection with an incident that involved “damages exceeding tens of thousands of dollars, including stolen property”, at Baitul Kareem mosque.

      “We’re overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from Canadians across the country,” Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada national president Lal Khan Malik said in a statement. “Our mosques will always remain open to all members of the community as a symbol of peace.”

      In an initial statement detailing the incident, Waterloo police suggest there may have been more than one person involved. 

      “We are deeply disturbed by this senseless criminal act and the significant destruction,” Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin said. “Places of worship are sacred, and this criminal act cannot and will not be tolerated in Waterloo Region. Rest assured, we are actively investigating, and committing appropriate resources to this investigation. My thoughts are with our Muslim community as they cope with this destructive and hateful crime.”

      The incident follows another one in nearby Hamilton, Ontario, days before on July 12 in which a mother and her daughter, both of whom were wearing hijabs, were threatened and chased by a man in a vehicle. Charges have also been laid in that case, but the name of a suspect has yet to be released publicly.

      Last month, in the deadliest attack against Muslims since the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting, four members of a Pakistani-Muslim London, Ontario, family were run down and killed by a suspect in a pick-up truck. Nathaniel Veltman, the 20-year-old suspect in the case, has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder and terrorism charges.

      Meanwhile in British Columbia, Surrey RCMP officers are investigating several reports of Islamophobia graffitti found in the Newton area of Surrey. 

      Ahead of a national summit on Islamophobia called for after the London attack, the National Council of Canadian Muslims is calling for the establishment of an Office of the Special Envoy on Islamophobia, funding for Muslim storytelling, amendments to the Criminal Code “to better deal with hate crimes” and anti-Islamophobia strategies in education.

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