Toronto police investigate after vandalism at Scarborough mosque

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Toronto police continue to investigate vandalism, robbery at Scarborough mosque
WATCH ABOVE: The Baitul Jannah Islamic Centre in Scarborough was broken into and vandalized over the weekend. Toronto police are now investigating. Brittany Rosen has reaction from the community – Aug 23, 2021

Toronto police say officers are investigating a break and enter and vandalism that occurred at a mosque in Scarborough on Sunday.

Police said a caretaker for the mosque arrived Sunday and discovered that things were scattered all over the place in some of the rooms and some donation boxes were damaged or broken into.

Atiqur Rahman, president of Baitul Jannah Islamic Centre, told Global News it was around 5:30 a.m. when they found that their mosque had been broken into.

“They threw out all of our Qur’ans which were on the shelf,” Rahman said, adding that break-ins have been happening frequently. “They took the recording for the CCTV cameras, they took it out of the machine.”

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Police said they were dispatched to the mosque at Kingston and Brimley roads at 1:09 p.m. on Sunday. Investigators said there is no camera footage at this time.

“I think it’s Islamophobia, or someone doesn’t like us,” Rahman said.

Paper and documents from filing cabinets were strewn across the floor in the office, Rahman said, adding it is hard to know exactly what was lost or taken.

He also said some of the donation boxes were also either broken into or stolen.

Rahman said he doesn’t know exactly how much money was stolen because they were set to count the money that day but suspects it was over $1,000.

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Police said the major crimes unit is in the early stages of the investigation and said “while there is no evidence to suggest this is hate-motivated at this time, out of an abundance of caution, our Hate Crime Unit has been notified and will support the ongoing investigation.”

Investigators said they are also aware of previous incidents at the same mosque that were reported in March, April and June of 2019. Police said charges were laid but it is too early to link those incidents with the one that occurred on Sunday.

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Toronto’s mayor is expressing anger after a city mosque was vandalized over the weekend.

John Tory called Monday for anyone with information on what happened at the Baitul Jannah Islamic Centre to contact police.

“There’s evidence, from what you can see, that the people who did this may have been trying to steal things. But they also look like they were trying to send a message of some kind,” Tory told reporters outside the mosque after he’d paid a visit there Monday evening.

“And it wasn’t a message of friendliness and solidarity of the kind we expect in the city between and among different faith groups.”

— With files from The Canadian Press

The outside of Baitul Jannah Islamic Center. Doug Gamey / Global News

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