Muslim group disturbed by 'hateful gathering' outside Toronto mosque
Anti-Islam protesters stand outside Masjid Toronto on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (Twitter / @SafiahC)
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, February 19, 2017 7:11AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 19, 2017 10:53AM EST
TORONTO -- A national Islamic group is expressing alarm about a small anti-Muslim protest held Friday in front of a Toronto mosque.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims says the demonstration, reportedly consisting of about a dozen participants, was a clear attempt to intimidate the Muslim community.
Images on social media showed the protesters carrying signs with anti-Muslim slogans as worshippers were entering the mosque.
The executive director of the National Council says it's "deeply" disturbing that such a protest would happen, let alone after last month's slaying of six men at a Quebec City mosque.
Ihsaan Gardee says it's critical that Canadians confront hatred in their communities.
The group says it's unclear if any threats were made against mosque congregants, but anyone with such information should contact police.
Toronto police say they've been called by outraged people who read media reports about the demonstration but as of Saturday afternoon, they hadn't received a formal complaint.
The protest came as Parliament debated a motion condemning Islamophobia and racism. The debate has sparked many racist and sexually derogatory messages against both the Ontario MP who made the motion and Heritage Minister Melanie Joly who took an active role in the parliamentary debate.
The issue also attracted the attention of Premier Kathleen Wynne on Saturday.
"There is no place for Islamophobia in Ontario. Thankful for those who stand with the Islamic community against hate," Wynne tweeted. It was not immediately clear if she was referring to Friday's protest or the issue of Islamophobia in general.