Suspect arrested in Ottawa anti-Semitic graffiti case

Ottawa police arrest a teenage boy suspected of involvement in a spate of racist graffiti targeting religious communities across the city.

Elad Benari,

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Ottawa police have arrested a teenage boy after a spate of racist graffiti targeting religious communities across the Canadian capital, police chief Charles Bordeleau confirmed Saturday, according to the CBC.

The youth appeared in court to face several charges, including uttering threats and mischief to religious buildings.

Bordeleau, who spoke during a solidarity event at the Machzikei Hadas Synagogue which was vandalized as well, said the suspect was caught after a Jewish community center in west Ottawa was defaced overnight.

"We recognize the impact that this type of crime has on the broader community and hopefully (the arrest) will help bring it to a conclusion," he said, according to the CBC, adding that the "community can demonstrate that unity will overshadow these individual acts of hate."

Staff-Sgt. Jamie Harper said the teen was charged in relation to incidents across the city but could not confirm which specific cases. The teen's age was not released.

Ottawa was victimized by six such incidents this past week. The latest came on Friday, when a mosque and a church with a pastor who is black were spray-painted with racist graffiti. Earlier in the week, two synagogues and a Jewish prayer center were defaced with anti-Semitic messages.

In addition to Ottawa, a swastika was drawn on the window of a kosher store in Montreal. "It's the Jews" was written in a junior high school in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week condemned the anti-Semitic acts and expressed support for the Jewish community.

"To the Canadian Jewish community: I stand with you. Our government denounces recent acts of anti-Semitism in the strongest terms," Trudeau tweeted.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson also tweeted support, saying, "This kind of hatred is not welcome in our city - a city that prides itself on being a tolerant and welcoming community for all."

On Saturday morning, the Machzikei Hadas Synagogue opened its doors to 600 people to gather in solidarity against the hateful messages, according to the CBC.

Ontario ​Premier Kathleen Wynne, Watson and Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, along with several religious figures, attended the event.

Canada, like many other countries, has fallen victim to anti-Semitism in recent years and months.

In October, swastika graffiti was painted in the University of Toronto. In August, pro-Israel supporters were attacked by leftists in Montreal.