MCGH Statement on Sentencing of Keith Frederick

Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton on the sentencing of Keith Frederick – guilty of arson for attempting to burn down the Ibrahim Jam-E Mosque.

May 17, 2017.  On September 14, 2016, the 15th anniversary of the arson attack on the Hamilton Hindu Samaj Temple, Keith Frederick located and then placed some trash at the door step of the Ibrahim Jam-E Mosque.  Once the flammable object were in place, motivated by hate and bigotry, he deliberately set it on fire with the intention of burning down the Mosque.

The trash ignited in a ball of flames. With that, the 34-year-old man turned and walked away.  His intention was to harm and destroy. The damage to the mosque was minor because five or so Hamiltonians, including the Syrian refugees, put out the fire.

Frederick’s Facebook page at the time was filled with reports from anti-Muslim news outlets and posts saying things like, Islam “should never ever be allowed in Canada!” On the page it shows he liked both Pegida Canada and the “Christian Defence League”—both far-right anti-Islam communities. His text messages to his uncle made mention of desiring firearms and dynamite to kill Muslims. This man is filled with hate, bigotry and ignorance.  He found inspiration with those who want to tear the inclusive social fabric of Canada apart.

Earlier today Frederick was sentenced.  While it is understandable why the court wants to send a clear message that crimes motivated by hate will be punished, the Muslim community wants to make it clear that we do not wish jail time for Frederick.  We believe that he has been filled with ignorance of and hatred for the Muslim community.  The best way to deal with those consumed by hate is to provide education and friendship.  We would be happy if the sentence he received was to provide community service time at the very Mosque he attacked and that he met the very people he wanted to harm.  We believe that if Frederick and others who may harbor enmity spent more time with their Muslim neighbours, mutual understanding and respect would develop.  Canada would be better off.

Imam Ayman al-Taher of the Mosque said “the community would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hamilton heroes for coming to the rescue of the Mosque that night.  We also would like to thank the Hamilton Police Service for their assistance in apprehending Frederick and providing other support to the community. We will pray that Mr. Frederick gets the help he needs to overcome his anger and hate.”

According to Dr. Ali T. Ghouse, Chair of the Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton “the Muslim community will not allow the hateful acts of one person dissuade us.  We know, deep in our hearts that Canada is the best county in the world, that Canadians in general and Hamiltonians in particular are good people.  We look forward to working with other Canadians in making Canada even more inclusive, welcoming and free from bigotry and intolerance.”

We invite Hamiltonians to attend local Mosques during the coming month of Ramadan and take part in the iftar dinners at sunset, when Muslims break their day long fast, so we can learn from and about one another and solidify relationships.

For further information please contact:
Hussein Hamdani,
MCGH Spokesperson
905 528 8411 ex. 336

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