Police were called to a Mississauga banquet hall on Sunday night after a woman put pages ripped from a Qur’an on vehicle windshields and then went inside as Muslims were preparing to pray.
The incident, at a fundraising dinner for the Vision TV program Let the Qur’an Speak, came two weeks after police said they were investigating three similar occurrences in Mississauga.
“It’s a similar incident to the last ones,” said Const. Bally Saini, a Peel police spokesperson. “We are investigating it.” Police responded at just after 8:15 p.m., she said, and “we are looking into exactly what happened.”
A video posted on YouTube on Monday showed a woman who identified herself as Sandra Solomon saying she was campaigning to have the Muslim holy book designated as hate literature.
The self-described “ex-Muslim” was then shown placing pamphlets and what she said were pages ripped from a Qur’an on car windshields. “I’m not calling on hate for Muslims. I don’t hate nobody,” she said.
She later entered the Verdi Convention Centre.
“She just came in. She was just saying ‘I want to talk to anybody, I want to debate somebody about Islam,’” Mamoun Hassan, executive producer of Let the Qur’an Speak, told Global News.
But Hassan said those attending the dinner, who were preparing for prayers at the time, recognized Solomon and mostly ignored her.
“I know it’s just really kind of provoking,” he said. “She wasn’t able to do that. Everyone was really calm. It was irritating, to be honest with you, and it was a distraction from what we were trying to do.”
Hassan said ripping Qur’ans was disrespectful but Solomon did not cause any property damage and left when told to. Event organizers called police and three squad cars arrived, he said.
After leaving the building, Solomon could be seen in the video referring to the Qur’an as a “Satanic, evil book” and vowing to continue her campaign. “I’m leaving but I’m not going to be stopping.”
Another video posted on Facebook on Saturday showed Solomon using a lighter to set fire to a page of the Qur’an. Asked to comment on Sunday’s events, Solomon responded, “I will only do face-to-face interviews with my own camera people present.”
In the video recorded outside Sunday’s fundraiser, Solomon said she had spoken to police. “And I actually went to the police station and they said to me I’m fine, they have nothing against me. So, therefore, I’m going to continue to challenge Muslims, especially imams, to prove me wrong.”
But Const. Saini said police were still investigating the incidents that occurred in late March. A video posted on Facebook at the time showed Solomon putting Qur’an pages on car windshields outside a Mississauga mosque.
The next day, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she was “disgusted and disturbed by these actions,” and the Muslim Council of Peel called for an increased police presence around mosques and a “commitment that the perpetrator of these acts will not be able to continue to do this at other locations.”