Montreal-area Mosque Vandalized

(September 18, 2009) – A Mosque in Dorval, in Montreal’s West Island, has been vandalized for the fourth time this year.

On Thursday evening, the mosque’s doors were spray painted with the words “Koran 511” in orange graffiti.

In June 2008 and April 2009, the same mosque, the Turkish Muslim Association of Montreal mosque in Dorval, was vandalized in a similar manner, with similar messages.

In all of instances, the mosque was spray painted with the word “Koran 511”, which references verses of the Quran that are often taken out of their historical context and misinterpreted as implying that Islam teaches Muslims to wage wars against non-Muslims.

In a statement released today, the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) said:

“The defacement of any place of worship – whether once-off or, as in this case, repeatedly – is deeply offensive and hurtful. Islam promotes social justice, peaceful relations and understanding with our neighbours – both Muslims and non-Muslims.”

Mosque president, Mehmet Deger, told CBC News that, “they are trying to give a message that we don’t have good relations with Jews and Christians.”

Deger added that this is not true, “during Ramadan we served meals to the needy, to the municipal and government officials. We have good relations with everyone, we never differentiate ethnicity or religion or colour.”

CAIR-CAN is asking politicians to speak out against these incidents and police to investigate urgently.

“CAIR-CAN, once again, calls on local politicians and security officials in Montreal to demonstrate leadership by standing firm against all forms of hate, racism and xenophobia. They must investigate, as a matter of urgency, the ongoing targeting of this mosque as a possible hate crime incident and bring the perpetrators responsible to justice,” said Ihsaan Gardee, CAIR-CAN Executive Director.