April 27, 2019 11:54 pm

‘Everyone promised action against anti-Semitism’: in Canada, sorrow follows Poway synagogue shooting

Authorities in California say they are looking at possible connections their suspect in the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting, 19 year-old John Earnest, may have had to another mosque arson.


The Poway synagogue shooting produced sorrow in Canada — just as the Pittsburgh shooting did exactly six months prior.

The latest attack, on the last day of Passover, killed one person and injured three people at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in Poway, Calif.

John Earnest, a 19-year-old resident of nearby San Diego, has been taken into custody and questioned in connection with the incident.

WATCH: 1 dead, 3 injured in San Diego County synagogue shooting

While prominent figures expressed grief for victims, the shooting also produced a note of frustration from at least one voice.

But it didn’t just have to do with the incident.

The frustration was born of the murders of 253 Christians in Sri Lanka last weekend; the killings of 50 Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, N.Z.; and the 11 dead in the shootings at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue last October.

READ MORE: 1 dead, 3 injured in shooting at California synagogue — officials

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“After the Pittsburgh attack which left 11 Jewish worshippers murdered, everyone promised action against anti-Semitism,” said a statement from Avi Benlolo, CEO at the Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies.

“We held vigils. We marched,” Benlolo wrote.

“Yet, anti-Semitism and hate at large continues to increase year-to-year as nationalist white supremacist groups expand globally.”

Benlolo went on to say that “anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem.

“It’s an illness. A cancer. A disease which is transmitted generationally.”

WATCH: Trump offers deepest sympathies to victims in San Diego County synagogue shooting

Benlolo wasn’t alone in expressing his sorrow over the Poway synagogue shooting.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement saying, “we grieve with Jewish communities in the San Diego area and around the world after today’s attack at a synagogue.”

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders also released a statement, assuring city residents that members of his department “will be actively visiting places of worship and patrolling the areas around them.”

A statement also emerged from the Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

The organizations said they were “shocked and saddened by the loss of life and injuries resulting from today’s deadly shooting at the Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California.”

“On the final day of Passover, the sanctity of the Sabbath services was destroyed when a hateful anti-Semitic murderer killed one worshipper and injured three others,” they said.

WATCH: Trump says America’s heart is with the victims of California synagogue shooting

The organizations offered their “thoughts and deepest sympathies” to the victims, their families and their loved ones — as well as the entire community.

“While there is no information whatsoever to suggest an elevated threat to Jewish communities in Canada, we are grateful that law enforcement across Canada were aware and responded accordingly with the necessary resources to safeguard our community,” they said.

Canada is no stranger to violence targeting Jewish people.

READ MORE: In Canada, Jews face more hate crimes, while Muslims face more violent ones — StatCan

Data released by Statistics Canada shows that Jews were the biggest targets for hate crimes in 2017, with 360 incidents in total.

They were targeted in 139 more incidents that year than in 2016, representing an increase of 63 per cent.

Muslims were close, with 349 incidents, but previous years had seen several more incidents target Jews.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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