Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accompanied with Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef visited on Sunday, January 17, the Masjid Al-Salaam in Peterborough, Ontario and met with the President of the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association.
Masjid al-Salaam was severely damaged in a fire on November 14. The arson was strongly condemned by the federal government, the City, faith groups and members of the public from all walks of life. More than $110,000 were raised in few days to help renovating the mosque. On December 24, 2015 Masjid Al-Salaam was re-opened after a full renovation.
Peterborough Police treat the arson as a hate crime. In a press conference on Novenber 16, 2015, Inspector Larry Charmely from the Criminal Investigations Unit of Peterborough Police Service emphasized that the Police has no information to support the claim that the arson was carried out in response to Paris terrorist attacks (November 13, 2015). Inspector Larry Charmely said the following:
“At this time we are treating it as a hate crime… at this time we don’t have any information to suggest that it is in relation to anything that has happened overseas in the last few days.”
An officer at Peterborough Police Service told (January 17) CIJnews that no suspects have been arrested in this case which is still being treated as a hate crime even though no evidence found to confirm the motive of the perpetrators.
However, in his speech at the mosque Trudeau unequivocally stated that the arson was a “hate crime” and implied that it was carried out in relation to Paris attacks by highlighting the fact that it “happened to this place of worship just a one day after the brutal terrorist attack in Paris”. With no suspects arrested and no evidence to confirm the motive of the arson, Trudeau determined that “criminals attacked this mosque hoping to incite fear, hatred and division”.
The following is the transcript of Trudeau’s speech at Masjid Al-Salaam in Peterborough:
“The opposite happened, didn’t it? Your community responded with hope, love and compassion. It was not just friends and neighbours to reach out and offer support. People from all across Canada from different faith communities all came together to support fellow citizens in their time of need…
“I’m overwhelmed by courage, positivity and grace. After all you and this community live those values every day.
“Thanks you once again to all community leaders who are here with us. Thanks to your generosity and optimism. Thank you for showing Canada how it’s done. Know that as your we stand with you.
“We will continue to denounce senseless acts of discrimination and like you we will work hard to make our communities kinder, more open more inclusive places to call home I wish you all a wonderful year ahead a year of faith, community and new beginnings May peace and blessing be upon you.”
(This article originally appeared at CIJNews and is reprinted with permission.)