‘We Want Protection’: Mosque President Says after Latest Attack

As Canada grapples with the growing anti-Muslim hate attacks, members of Scarborough mosque have appealed for protection after the latest attack on their mosque.

The Baitul Jannah Islamic Center in Scarborough was found in disarray on Sunday at 5:30 am, with donation boxes smashed and items, including copies of the Qur’an, thrown onto the floor.

Toronto Police Const. David Hopkinson said the vandals broke into the mosque through a window, ransacking multiple rooms and stealing money from donation boxes.

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“We didn’t get any results from police yet, we tried four or five times … it’s very frustrating for us,” Atiqur Rahman, the mosque’s president, told The Toronto Star.

Rahman said the surveillance cameras were also disconnected and the digital video recorder was stolen.

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The mosque president said that this is not the first attack on the mosque, which suffered seven or eight break-ins since 2018. No suspects have been arrested for any of these crimes.

“Toronto Police Service have only investigated the one (break-in) we’re currently doing, we have no records for anything else,” Const. Hopkinson said.

“These incidents have placed our community in a state of fear and confusion. The community is not willing to donate due to the fear of more break-ins,” said Rahman.

Worshipers arriving at the mosque Sunday for prayer were devastated and shocked after learning of this latest incident.

“For somebody to have so much hate against a place like this if it’s one group or different groups having the same sentiment it’s really heartbreaking,” Rizuan Rahman told CTV News.

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Scarborough Southwest MPP Doly Begum shared a message of support with the Muslim community.

“Baitul Jannah Masjid, where many of us and our families in #Scarborough go to pray, was broken into last night. I’m devastated to see the aftermath of this violent break-in. This kind of violence is never OK.” she wrote.

“We must take urgent action to address acts of anti-Muslim racism and #Islamophobia that’s on the rise. Everyone deserves to have a safe and sacred space for practicing their faith, these acts are unacceptable and must be stopped.”

Till now, there is no information on potential suspects and no indication if it’s connected to previous acts of vandalism.

“Muslim communities at times have to face certain obstacles in observing their practices,” said Rahman.

“We love this country, we are peaceful in our religion. We want protection, that is what we want.”

Rising Hate

The attack on Scarborough mosque comes amid rising concerns about Islamophobic attacks in provinces across Canada and widespread calls for authorities to tackle racism, hate-motivated violence, and the prevalence of far-right groups.

A Muslim man from Saskatoon was stabbed in the back several times as had his beard cut in June when he went out for an early morning walk.

Canada still grapples with another June’s hate crime against a Muslim family in London, Ontario.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna, and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed while out for an evening walk.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the killings a “terrorist attack” and vowed to clamp down on far-right groups and online hate.