EDMONTON — The search continues for who’s behind the anti-Semitic messages and ‘Leave Canada’ that was spray-painted on a Jewish place of worship in west Edmonton over the weekend.
The messages were found Saturday on the south-facing wall and northeast corner of the Beth Israel Synagogue in the Oleskiw neighbourhood. Police said the building was tagged in purple paint using block letters approximately one foot in size.
“A number of the congregants were quite distraught, having seen the graffiti on their way into the synagogue. They alerted me to it and, of course, I was shocked and devastated as well,” said Rabbi Daniel Friedman.
Police were called to Wolf Willow Road and Wanyandi Road around 11 p.m. on Saturday.
“No organization, establishment or individual should be victim to this type of crime. We are actively working with the synagogue and community partners to bring resolution to this incident,” said Cst. Daniel Woodall with the EPS Hate Crime Detail on Friday.
“We know that this is not typical of our Canadian brothers and sisters, most of whom share our Canadian values of openness and tolerance,” Friedman said Monday evening.
“These are really some crazies that we know aren’t indicative of most people…but these people do exist and it’s terrifying to know that they do exist and they’re just around the corner.”
Friedman added that the synagogue has been fire-bombed and attacked with hateful words in the past.
This is the second time in less than two weeks that a place of worship in Edmonton has been vandalized with messages of hate. Last week, a south Edmonton gurdwara — or Sikh place of worship — had phrases like ‘Leave Canada’ and a profane, racist comment spray-painted on its outside walls.
In October, a Cold Lake mosque was vandalized; “Go Home” spray-painted on the side of the building.
Anyone who has information about this latest crime is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published Jan. 20 and updated on Jan. 23 with more information from police.
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