Victoria police probe online threats against mosque
Published Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:11PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:25PM EDT
Police in Victoria are investigating after a comment suggesting a mosque be blasted by a rocket launcher was made on Facebook.
On a Facebook page entitled “I Love Downtown Victoria,” a poster using the name Dan Speed wrote about the Muslim house of worship -- which is currently under construction -- “that’s not good.”
In a later post, Speed wrote “blast it with an 84 mm Carl Gustaf.”
A Carl Gustaf is a powerful anti-tank gun.
On Speed’s online profile, he identified himself as a former member of the military who is currently working for the Canadian Coast Guard in security.
The Canadian Coast Guard said it does not have an employee by the name of Dan Speed. However, CTV British Columbia has learned that Speed does work at the Victoria Coast Guard base under a company contracted for security services.
Speed’s Facebook profile has been deleted, but the threatening comment is still causing concern among Victoria’s Muslim community.
“It is a little bit scary to see someone that has military training say something like that,” said Azhar Omarjee of the Victoria branch of the B.C. Muslim Association.
Police are taking the threat seriously, particularly in light of the recent public shootings in the United States.
“Anytime anything like this comes to light, with the state of things that have happened in the States and that, we’re certainly going to pay attention to this,” said Victoria police Const. Mike Russell.
Earlier in August an army veteran opened fire inside a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, killing six people.
In July a gunman shot and killed 12 and injured dozens more during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Colorado. Following the theatre shooting, a man from North Vancouver allegedly made online threats to copy the gunman and is now facing charges.
Lawyers say that while cyber threats aren’t new, people who post threats online are increasingly falling into legal trouble.
“I think the criminal code never got developed to deal with social media,” said criminal defence lawyer Michael Bolton.
No charges have been laid in connection with the threats against the Victoria mosque.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Bhinder Sajan