One person has been arrested following a rash of racist incidents targeting places of worship in Ottawa, police have confirmed.
Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau told a crowd at an interfaith gathering that the arrest was made early Saturday morning, CTV News’ Annie Bergeron-Oliver reported.
Bordeleau said officers apprehended a suspect as he was allegedly attempting to deface a Jewish community centre. He has been charged with uttering threats and mischief to religious buildings.
More than 600 people packed into Machzikei Hadas Synagogue on Saturday to hear religious and community leaders deliver a message of tolerance following five incidents of racist graffiti in six days.
“This is not about the Jewish community or the United Church or the mosque. When one … is attacked, we are all attacked,” said Imam Sikander Hashmi.
“If nobody stands up and shows their support, (the crimes) will continue,” said Nigel Shaw, an Anglican bishop.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said the strong show of solidarity is a reflection of the community’s spirit.
“This is the true face of Ottawa,” Watson said. “It’s not one person that goes around spreading hate through spray paint and graffiti.”
On Friday, Ottawa police confirmed two occurrences of hate graffiti after receiving a call about red swastikas and racial slurs spray-painted on a local church. Less than an hour later, police confirmed a similar incident at an Ottawa mosque.
Earlier in the week, Ottawa’s Jewish community was also targeted in three separate incidents, police said. One incident occurred Wednesday night at a synagogue in southeast Ottawa, where swastikas were spray-painted on the door and anti-Semitic graffiti painted on its brick walls.
Bordeleau has said he believes all the recent hate graffiti incidents are connected.
BORDELEAU says the arrest was made this morning. Investigators still working. Details to come later. @ctvottawa— Annie BergeronOliver (@AnnieClaireBO) November 19, 2016