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Toronto police investigating potential hate crime after graffiti sprayed on mosque

A Toronto Police Services logo is shown at headquarters, in Toronto, on Friday, August 9, 2019.Toronto police say they are investigating a possible hate crime after graffiti appeared on the walls of a mosque in the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Toronto police are investigating after potentially hate-motivated graffiti appeared on the walls of a mosque in the city.

Police said they responded to a call about a possible hate crime at Towfiq Islamic Center early on Thursday morning and found "hateful messages" sprayed on the walls of the mosque. 

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Toronto police said two people allegedly spray painted the walls at approximately 12:26 a.m on Thursday. 

"We’re investigating possible hate-motivated graffiti at the Towfiq Islamic Centre," Myron Demkiw, Toronto's police chief, wrote on Twitter. 

"We’re committed to investigating every potential hate crime & encourage the reporting of any suspected hateful act to police."

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said it is in touch with the Towfiq Islamic Center.

"We are aware of the disgusting and disturbing Islamophobic vandalism that occurred,” the organization wrote in a statement. 

"This is gravely concerning."

The vandalism, which happened during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was condemned by several public figures. 

"I'm extremely troubled by this act of vandalism in the midst of the holy month of Ramadan," Jennifer Mckelvie, Toronto's deputy mayor, wrote in a statement. 

"Mosques are a place of peace where people should be able to gather to celebrate their faith without fear."

Ahmed Hussen, the federal minister for Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, said he was “disturbed” to learn about what happened. 

"Islamophobia & hatred have no place in Canada," he wrote in a statement. "We will not be silent to hatred & we will continue to stand against it."

Police said the suspects wore dark clothes and were seen fleeing the area. Investigators are asking anyone with information about the offence to come forward.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2023. 

Sharif Hassan, The Canadian Press

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