- Police in Edmonton say a group that entered a mosque and later argued with people outside is on their radar
- A spokeswoman for the Al Rashid mosque, said two men entered the building Friday before prayers and appeared to be scouting the building.
- The mosque’s executive director spotted one of the men and asked him if he needed help. Then a man who was wearing a toque with the word “infidel” written in Arabic joined them
OTTAWA – With the second anniversary of the Quebec City mosque massacre just a few days away, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is condemning a hateful incident of intimidation that occurred yesterday at the well-known Al Rashid Mosque in Edmonton Alberta, NCCM said in a statement sent to AboutIslam.net.
According to reports, a group of individuals connected to Soldiers of Oden and The Clann, known far-right Islamophobic hate groups, entered the Al Rashid Mosque, the oldest operating mosque in Canada, on Friday around prayer services and appeared to be scouting the building.
“They went outside and our camera footage shows they met up with two other men. I’m not sure if there were more. And they got in a confrontation with our community, with some of the community members who were outside,” Noor Al-Henday, a spokeswoman for the Al Rashid mosque, said.
The men left after being asked by mosque officials about their presence and then confronted community members outside.
“This deeply disturbing episode has left Edmonton Muslims feeling threatened and unsafe ahead of the January 29th anniversary of the devastating terror attack on the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
“Let’s be clear: this was an exercise in hateful intimidation by known Islamophobic extremists of Canadian Muslims at their place of worship. We stand with the Al Rashid community in denouncing this incident,” he added.
Two years ago, a Canadian lone gunman terrorist opened fire at a mosque in Quebec City on the evening of January 29, 2017, killing six and injuring 19.
In recent years, the number of Islamophobic hate groups has jumped up in Alberta and some have created militia-like groups.
Statistics Canada reported a 151% spike in police-reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2017 following the Quebec mosque attack and the RCMP says far-right extremists have become emboldened in Canada.
“Such deliberate acts of hateful intimidation pose a very real threat to our communities and social cohesion and they must not be allowed to continue. Two years after the Quebec mosque attack, Canadian Muslims and their institutions continue to face Islamophobic threats which have a serious impact on their sense of security,” says Gardee.
“This incident underscores the serious threat posed by right-wing extremists to religious freedom and to Canadians. We urge law enforcement and elected officials to counter these threats and work to protect communities from hateful groups. We also urge Canadian Muslims to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity to the authorities.”
The NCCM reiterates its call from December for the federal government to fully recognize the growing threat from far-right groups in Canada.
Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey estimated Muslims in Canada to be around 1,053,945, or about 3.2% of the population, making Islam the second largest religion in the country after Christianity.