A Mosque in Quebec has been smeared with pig's blood in what Muslim community members say is a hate crime against their community.
Muslim activists in Canada have responded to the incident by blaming the government in Quebec for what they said was the creation of an atmosphere of suspicion and fear of minorities. In particular, they site the French-speaking territory's pursuit of a controversial secular charter, which would ban the wearing of hijabs and other religious clothing and symbols, along similar lines to laws which currently exist in France.
No one has claimed responsibility for the vandalism, but a letter was left at the mosque denouncing Islam and telling supporters to “assimilate or go home.”
In a report carried by Jewish newspaper Shalom Toronto, Jason Kenny, Minister for Industry and Multiculturalism condemned the crime.
“This weekend, acts of vandalism were perpetrated against the Islamic Association of Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean’s mosque. A substance believed to be pig blood was thrown on the mosque, and a letter containing hate speech was also left on site."
He added: “As the Minister for Multiculturalism, I encourage all Canadians to vigorously denounce all forms of intolerance and hatred."
The National Council of Canadian Muslims, (NCCM) called on police to investigate the incident as a hate crime against muslims. Chief Executive of the organization Ihsaan Gardee claimed that the policy of the Quebec government to outlaw outward expressions of religion in public institutions would not serve to strengthen unity in the population. Rather, Gardee said, it would lead to the creation of an atmosphere of suspicion and fear that he said "had already been expressed in the attack on the mosque."
"The attack against the freedom of religion is likely to give the signal the green light to violence and thuggery against minorities in Quebec." Gardee accused.
As a consequence of the laws that could be passed in Quebec, it could also become illegal for Jews to wear kippot (skullcaps) in public institutions.