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Canada's Trudeau 'deeply disturbed' by threats toward Toronto-area mosque

Attacks against Muslim places of worship have spiked in recent months, with the latest threat referencing New Zealand's deadly Christchurch terror attack
A Muslim volunteer at Toronto's International Muslim Organisations was stabbed to death on 12 September.
A Muslim volunteer at Toronto's International Muslims Organisation was stabbed to death on 12 September (AFP/File photo

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he is "deeply disturbed" after a Toronto mosque received a sinister threat referencing the Christchurch terror attacks, and vowed to do more to counter anti-Muslim hatred.

"Islamophobia and hate have no place in our country, and this kind of behavior and language will not be tolerated. We must do more to counter hatred and we will," Trudeau said on Twitter on Monday, responding to a letter posted on the social media site by Canada's Muslim Caucus.

The letter addressed an incident from the weekend in which an unidentified mosque in Toronto received an email saying: "we have the guns to do a Christ church all over again".

The mosque in question was not identified due to an uptick in attacks in the Toronto area this year. Toronto police said they are currently investigating the threats.

"We have watched with growing concern acts of violence that have occurred around the world due to racism, Islamophobia, and white supremacy," the Caucus said, which consists of Muslim MPs.

While acknowledging the work being done by the federal government to combat hate and white supremacy, the Caucus said that "incidents of hate, violence, and murder continue to occur and far-right hate groups fester on dark corners of the web and in person".

'Today, we are dealing with threats to murder members of the Toronto Muslim community en masse. What more needs to happen before action is taken?'

- Mustafa Farooq, National Council of Canadian Muslims

"We recognise much more needs to be done. Lives are being lost, and there is deep concern. We have a responsibility to do more," the MPs said.

The threat comes less than a month after a Muslim volunteer at the International Muslims Organisation (IMO), a Toronto-area mosque, was stabbed to death outside the house of worship.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) had sent out a stern letter following the murder, calling on Trudeau and the federal government to create an action plan to dismantle white supremacy.

"Faith-based communities, as well as racialized communities, have faced attacks on our homes, our places of worship, our children, and our congregants at the hands of white supremacist organizations," the coalition said in the letter.

"We are calling on the federal government to establish a national action plan on dismantling white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups that threaten Canadians who are Black, Indigenous, Jewish, Muslim, or Sikh, amongst other communities."

Increase in anti-Muslim incidents

Islamophobic and anti-Muslim incidents have increased in Canada in recent years, the most devastating being the mass shooting at Quebec City mosque in 2017, where a white Canadian man shot and killed six people and injured more than a dozen people.

But in the last year, there have been numerous attacks targeting the Muslim community in Toronto in particular.

Canadian Muslims want Toronto mosque attacks investigated as hate crimes
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In August, Masjid Toronto reported that they had been hit with six separate attacks on its properties within a span of just three months. Despite calls to investigate the attacks as hate crimes, one of the incidents was labelled as "mischief".

"Enough is enough," Mustafa Farooq, CEO of NCCM, said in a statement on Monday regarding the violent threats.

"While we greatly appreciate the efforts of Toronto Police Service in conducting an investigation into this particular incident, we need action now from the federal government to develop a national strategy on dismantling xenophobic groups that preach violent ideologies of hate and violence.

"Today, we are dealing with threats to murder members of the Toronto Muslim community en masse. What more needs to happen before action is taken?"