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 Toronto mosque vandalized after terrorism arrests

Latest NewsToronto mosque vandalized after terrorism arrests Reuters.uk, UK By Wojtek Dabrowski TORONTO (Reuters) - Vandals smashed 30 windows of a Toronto mosque and damaged nearby cars after the arrest of 17 suspected al Qaeda sympathizers accused of planning bomb attacks. Canadian Muslims expressed fear on Sunday that a backlash had begun. The vandals struck overnight at the west-end mosque, a police official said on Sunday. A second official said he had no information on any link between the incident and the arrests, which began late Friday. "The actual weapon that was used to break (the windows) is unknown," said secretary Ameer Ali of the International Muslims Organisation of Toronto, which houses the mosque. "We believe it has to be a heavy instrument, possibly a sledgehammer or a pick ax, or it could even be a crowbar." About five cars in a parking lot next to the mosque also had their windows broken, Ali said. He said the two-story mosque sees about 500 worshipers daily and the organisation said the mosque is one of the largest in North America. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair told a meeting with Islamic community leaders, "it is certainly possible that that damage was motivated by hate. Hatred in any form, and certainly in its expressions of violence and damaged property, will not be tolerated in our community." Mohammad Alam, president of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, said the vandalism may be the beginning of religiously motivated reprisals against the country's Muslim population, estimated at more than 600,000. He said he backed the government's efforts to combat terrorism, but ...

emphasized nothing had been proven in the suspected bomb plot, which has gripped the country. "Like everybody knows, this is so far all allegation," Alam said. "To us, it doesn't matter what religion they belong to -- if they're a terrorist, they're a terrorist, they should be punished according to the law."



 
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