NCCM welcomes swift police response to arson attack on Hamilton mosque

-For Immediate Release-

(Ottawa – September 15, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, welcomes the swift action by Hamilton police to investigate and arrest a man who allegedly set fire to a mosque in southwestern Ontario.

According to media reports, a 34-year old man was seen setting fire to the front entrance of the Ibrahim Jame Mosque in Hamilton on Wednesday night. Local neighbours alerted police who were able to arrest the alleged arsonist.

“Hamilton residents and police should be commended for reacting quickly to this latest attack on a Canadian Muslim institution. The police should investigate this incident as a hate crime and prosecute the perpetrator to the fullest extent of the law in order to send a clear message that such acts are unacceptable in our communities,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“We are relieved that the alleged arsonist has been apprehended,” says Sayed Hashemi, acting spokesperson for the Ibrahim Jame mosque . “Our community members are very troubled by this incident; however, we know that Hamilton is a wonderful city with compassionate people.

“We are thankful to our neighbours, including recently arrived Syrian newcomers who helped with extinguishing the fire quickly, and other neighbours who helped with alerting police. Neighbours followed the arsonist until he was arrested. We also appreciate the police’s quick and appropriate response,” says Hashemi.

The incident took place on the 15-year anniversary of a similar attack on a neighbouring Hindu temple, which was set on fire following 9/11 by young men who reportedly thought it was a mosque. Three men were convicted for that crime in 2014.

The NCCM is urging Islamic institutions across Canada to remain vigilant, to take extra security precautions and to review the NCCM’s Community Safety Guide found online and available for order.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization that is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.