Police end mosque graffiti investigation

Raffy Boudjikanian
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Police end mosque graffiti investigation

Citing a lack of evidence, Montreal Police will stop an investigation into vandalism at Dorval Mosque, the third of its kind at the same place of worship in the space of 11 months. "An investigation is not recommended because we don't have enough evidence to accuse anybody," explained Liliana Belluci, media relations officer for Station 5, which covers Pointe Claire and Dorval. "It doesn't mean that tomorrow, if, let's say that the investigator gets some proof, that the case will not be resumed," she added.

The mosque's president, Mehmet Deger, admit security footage exists of the third vandalism attack, which he estimated must have occurred overnight on May 17, but that it is too blurry due to the building's single security camera being covered with spider webs at the time.

The frequency of the attacks caused some concern for federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, who visited the congregation last Friday evening. "Your community is a positive example of what's best about Canadian multiculturalism," Kenney said.

However, his remarks also suggested he would like to see justice for the perpetrators of the vandalism attacks. "The people who are responsible for these actions should know that there are consequences for it," he said.

After each graffiti act, the mosque publicly called for those responsible to step forward for an open conversation about their concerns. "I like very much your approach of inviting whoever the culprit is to dialog and to learn from you but I think that's typically Canadian, that kind of pacific approach to this," Kenney said.

During the visit, he also said the Canadian government has a program for communities-at-risk to help them pay for security equipment upgrades. "For a lot of small community organizations, it's very expensive for them to buy security installations like video cameras, reinforced doors, this kind of equipment," Kenney explained.

Each graffiti has referred to a specific verse in the Quran, along with a question mark, and sometimes the peace sign. The verses have all implied Islam is not a peaceful religion when taken out of their context, officials at the mosque said. "I had to buy a machine to clean the graffiti (this last time)," Deger said, adding the mosque has had to pay $4,000 so far in cleaning costs.

Geographic location: Pointe Claire

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