Two arrested in connection with protest at North Vancouver Islamic centre

North Vancouver RCMP are "appealing for calm in the community" after a Nov. 18, 2022 protest outside the Ghadir Cultural and Education Center in North Vancouver turned violent. Global News / File

Two people have been arrested in connection with a protest outside the Ghadir Cultural and Education Center in North Vancouver earlier this month.

According to North Vancouver RCMP, about 50 people disrupted a planned service at the centre’s mosque on Nov. 18, and a number of worshippers were spat on, threatened and assaulted. Some members of the centre were also threatened on social media, police said in a Tuesday news release.

Both suspects were arrested for uttering threats, and one was arrested for assault as well.

“While the right to engage in peaceful, lawful protest is a fundamental element of democracy, any protest must abide by Canadian law and must not compromise the safety and security of citizens,” said Const. Mansoor Sahak in the release.

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“We will investigate any breaches of the law and fulfil our responsibility to ensure those who are responsible are held to account.”

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Mounties said additional arrests are expected in connection with the Nov. 18 incident.

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According to the Ghadir Cultural and Educational Center, the protest was a response to its weekly evening educational program for children and youth, which on that day, focused on “strategies for environmental preservation.” In an Instagram post, the centre said the demonstration took place “under the guise of protesting against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“These women and men shouted extremely profane, sexual expletives and death threats directly towards our community members,” reads the post from last week.

“They also spat on, kicked, and otherwise physically abused some members of our community, traumatizing our children in the process.”

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The centre said protesters also insulted the Prophet of Islam, his family, and the Quran. The centre described itself as a registered charity, “free of political affiliations and motives.”

“While injustice and tyranny are indeed worthy of the utmost condemnation, so too are violence, hatred and bigotry, in whatever shape or form they take place, be it in Iran or anywhere else in the world,” it said.

Anyone with information on the Nov. 18 incident is asked to contact the detachment at 604-985-1311.

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