Canada: Toronto mosque closed after violent threats

14th Oct 2020
Canada: Toronto mosque closed after violent threats

By Barry Ellsworth

 

TRENTON, Canada (AA): A Toronto mosque remained closed Tuesday after receiving violent threats as police investigate the incident.

“The threats specifically contained a promise that guns had been procured to ‘do a Christchurch all over again,” the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) tweeted Saturday, referencing the attack on two mosques in New Zealand in 2019 that killed 51 Muslims. Police were notified of the threats received last weekend.

Mustafa Farooq, chief executive officer of the NCCM, said the mosque will not be named because of the fear it would unleash more threats.

“These (email) messages were extraordinarily violent,” he said. “When we get these threats, we don’t take them lightly. And that’s why the mosque was shut down and remains shut down.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory called the threats “completely unacceptable” and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply disturbed” by the incident.

“Islamophobia and right-wing extremism have no place in our country or our communities,” he said. “We must always stand united against hate or intolerance of any kind.”

The threats come on the heels of the stabbing death of a volunteer mosque caretaker in the Toronto area in September.

That crime prompted 25 human rights groups to send a letter Oct. 5 to Trudeau asking for an action plan to shut down white supremacist groups “so that we don’t continue to keep having to go to funeral after funeral, to respond to threats after threats,” said Farooq.

“It needs to stop and the way that needs to stop is through a national action plan to dismantle these kinds of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, violent, Islamophobic or xenophobic groups.”

“Obviously, there’s a lot of fear,” Farooq said. “There is a lot of concern. What is going to happen next?”

But Farooq said the Muslim community would not be cowed by threats.

“I won’t allow someone who was trying to terrorize us and intimidate us succeed,” he said. “We’re going to stand up as Canadians. We’re going to stand up (as) Canadian Muslims. And I know that so many communities are standing with us.”

On Monday, the Liberal Muslim Parliamentary Caucus, which is composed of Muslim members of parliament, said it will be meeting with Trudeau and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair in the coming days to discuss the matter.

It said the government has made progress against white supremacists, including the addition of two white supremacists organizations to the terror list.

“However, incidents of hate, violence and murder continue to occur and far-right hate groups fester on dark corners of the web and in person,” it wrote. “We recognize much more needs to be done.”

It was not known when the mosque would reopen.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Map of Canada by CIA/Public Domain]

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