July 21, 2014 6:05 pm

Thornhill Islamic centre vandalized in what police say was hate crime

Watch video above: Police are investigating after hateful messages were spray painted beside a mosque in Thornhill. Cindy Pom reports. 

THORNHILL, Ont. – York Regional Police are investigating after they say an Islamic centre in Thornhill, north of Toronto, was vandalized with anti-Muslim messages.

Police say they responded to a call at the Ja’ffari Community Centre at 9000 Bathurst Street near Rutherford Road on Sunday night around 7 p.m.

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Among messages scrawled onto the sidewalk were “Arab go home” and vulgarities referencing the ongoing Gaza-Israel conflict.

The incident happened about a week before the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto, which runs the centre, says it is “disturbed” by the vandalism and that the incident comes a week after it hosted an interfaith event.

“While appalling, these actions do not represent the attitudes of Canada’s multicultural society,” the group said Monday in a statement.

The Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs “unequivocally” condemned the graffiti in a statement Monday afternoon.

“We unequivocally condemn all acts of vandalism committed against any place of worship. There is no place in Canadian civil society for acts of bigotry and hatred. We have been in touch with York Regional Police who quickly launched an investigation, and we are confident they will do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of this act to justice.”

Police say the hate crime unit has taken over the case but there’s no word yet on suspects.

Investigators are asking witnesses to come forward or anyone who may have surveillance video that captured suspicious activity in the area.