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Grade 3 students ‘terrorized’ after Ontario man walks into gym class, goes on tirade

A photo of Hamilton Downtown Mosque on York Boulevard. Police say a 54-year-old local man is facing charges in connection with a hate-based crime after entering the location on the June 14, 2024. Google Maps

A man accused of entering a Hamilton, Ont., mosque and uttering slurs at a grade three gym class has been charged with criminal harassment in what police are describing as a “hate crime.”

Investigators allege the 54-year-old local man entered the building through an open door around noon on Friday and walked right into a classroom.

Once there, investigators say he made hate-related comments and ripped up an English copy of the Quran he brought with him to the York Boulevard address.

Executives with Hamilton’s Downtown Mosque said teachers and students were “terrorized” by the intrusion, and that one of their staff members ended up escorting the man out of the facility.

They called the incident “unacceptable” and insisted the matter “threatened the safety” of children.

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“The Board continues to prioritize the safety of our community and will take precautionary measures that are at its disposal to maintain the safety of students and worshippers,” the mosque said in a release.

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They also called on all levels of government to take action on Islamophobia “through legislation, prevention, and mitigation programs.”

“We expect every political leader to raise their voice in solidarity and a commitment to take action — now, before more folks get hurt,” the outlet said in a social media post.

Hamilton police identified the accused in a release on Monday afternoon and revealed they increased their presence at the mosque over the weekend.

“Incidents of this nature create fear and question the sense of belonging for diverse communities,” they said in a statement.

“We appreciate the impact this incident had on the community, especially those directly involved in the incident.”

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