Trudeau condemns 'highly disturbing' hate crimes
Published Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:44AM EST Last Updated Wednesday, November 18, 2015 3:27PM EST
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging Canadians not to turn to "acts of hatred and racism" in the wake of the deadly shootings and bombings in Paris.
The statement comes after a number of attacks targeted places of worship and a Muslim woman in Canada.
"I have noted with deep regret a number of highly disturbing acts aimed at certain Canadians, including the fire at the mosque in Peterborough, the smashing of windows at a Hindi temple in Kitchener, and the attack on a Muslim woman in Toronto." Trudeau said in a statement released Wednesday.
Muslim Canadians and advocates say they have noticed a sharp backlash against their community after terrorists killed more than 120 people in co-ordinated attacks across Paris last week.
In one Toronto neighbourhood, the words "Muslims Go Home" were scrawled along the white wall of a large apartment complex, right across from a family's door.
Nearby, police say a woman wearing a hijab was attacked on Monday afternoon while trying to pick her son up after school.
Officers say two white men allegedly yelled racial slurs and pulled at the woman's headscarf while violently assaulting her and taking off with her money and cell phone.
Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, and say they are currently reviewing security footage from the area.
On Tuesday, a Muslim woman in the neighbourhood told CTV News, "It's very scary for us."
Elsewhere in Ontario, the only mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was torched on Sunday. And members of a Hindu temple in Kitchener, Ont., fear that recent vandalism may have been motivated by misplaced anti-Muslim sentiments.
"In the last 24 to 36 hours there are at least 4 reports (of attacks) and we don't know how many are not reported," Munir Pervaiz, the president of the Muslim Canadian Congress, told CTV News. "And we can easily attribute it to what happened in Paris."
On Wednesday, Trudeau strongly condemned the attacks, saying the actions go against Canadian values.
"Diversity is Canada's strength," Trudeau said in the statement. "These vicious and senseless acts of intolerance have no place in our country and run absolutely contrary to Canadian values of pluralism and acceptance."
Trudeau also vowed that his government and police would work to protect the victims' rights, and urged Canadians to focus on unity in the face of global terrorism threats.
"Our focus must be on stopping the people responsible for the terror, and continuing to fight hate by embracing Canadian values," he said.