(Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. September 15, 2016) – The Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton (MCGH), a coalition of Hamilton area mosques and community organizations are calling on all Hamilton area Muslims to attend Friday congregational prayers at Ibrahim Jam-E Mosque for solidarity and support in light of the abhorrent firebombing which occurred there last night. Thankfully no one was injured, the damage was minimal and a suspect is in custody facing charges of arson and damage to property.
The Hamilton Police Service has not yet labelled this incident as a hate crime pending “an investigation”.
The MCGH views this incident as a hate-crime that was committed coinciding with
the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attack and Hindu Samaj Temple fire-bombing
which occurred September 15, 2001. Three individuals were convicted of mischief
in 2014 for this crime.
“Fifteen years ago today, three men who were ignorant of Islam, mistakenly torched and destroyed the Hindu Samaj Temple thinking it was a mosque,” said Dr. Ali Taher Ghouse, President of the Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton. “This did not stop them from realizing their error and they returned that same night to fire-bomb the Hamilton Mountain mosque that night. With last night’s incident, the sense of security that Muslims in Hamilton feel has been rattled.”
We are grateful to the Hamilton Police Service and their ability to apprehend a suspect less than 24 hours from the time it was committed.
However, we are concerned about their hesitancy to call this crime what it is – a hate crime, particularly in light of growing Islamophobia in the general population. Indeed, some Canadian politicians running for leadership of our federal parties, possibly inspired by U.S. politics, are calling for screening tests for “Canadian values”, calling into question the “Canadianness” of immigrants, particularly Muslims.
Muslims as a people are peace-loving, law-abiding citizens committed to living peacefully in Canadian neighbourhoods with their families and are deeply grateful for the opportunity to pray and worship peacefully in Canada.
Friday prayers will be conducted at the Ibrahim Jam-E mosque at 778 King Street East, east of Sanford Avenue on Friday, September 16. Please check the mcgh.ca website for additional details and timings.
ABOUT THE MUSLIM COUNCIL OF GREATER HAMILTON (MCGH): The MCGH is a coalition of Hamilton area mosques and community organizations. For more information, please contact Dr. Raza Khan at 905-975-3781.