Hate crimes spike in Montreal after Quebec City mosque shooting
There have been 14 reports of hate crimes in Montreal since the Quebec City mosque shooting Sunday, said Montreal police chief Philippe Pichet.
Officials say it’s a striking increase.
According to Mélanie Lajoie, a spokesperson with Montreal police, there were 81 reported hate crimes in 2013, 89 in 2014, 112 in 2015 and 137 in 2016.
“The numbers are going up,” she pointed out.
Lajoie said investigators are now working to determine the validity of the 14 reports that police received.
WATCH: There have been 14 reports of hate crimes in Montreal since the Quebec City mosque shooting, according to Montreal police. As Global’s Billy Shields reports, officials are stepping up surveillance around places of worship.
Across the province, Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officials estimate that about 250 cases have been reported since the attack.
The force had announced Monday there will be an increased police presence and surveillance at mosques around the city.
WATCH BELOW: Quebec City mosque shooting victims remembered
The Muslim community in Quebec is reeling after the attacks.
“We have to be honest about this. Islamophobia is rising and has been rising for so long,” said Samer Majzoub, Canadian Muslim Forum president.
“We don’t have to hide this. We have been screaming loudly to say, ‘Islamophobia exists.’ It should not be denied.”
Attack in Quebec City
Sunday night, six people were killed and many others injured, including several children, during a shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Sainte-Foy.
Police and public officials are treating the incident at the Quebec mosque as an act of terrorism.
READ MORE: Anti-Muslim incidents in Quebec: a timeline
In a message to Quebec’s Muslim community Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said, “We are with you, this is your home, we are all Quebecers.”
WATCH BELOW: Quebec City mosque shooting
The suspect has since been identified as Alexandre Bissonnette.
He faces six charges of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder with a restricted firearm.
The centre was also the target of vandalism last summer when a pig’s head was delivered to it during Ramadan.
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