۱۱ اسفند ۱۳۹۹ | Mar 1, 2021
Toronto mosque remains closed after it receives violent threats, police investigating

A downtown Toronto mosque remained closed on Monday night after it received several violent and offensive threats by email early Saturday. Toronto police are investigating.

Hawzah News Agency - (Toronto - Canada) - A downtown Toronto mosque remained closed on Monday night after it received several violent and offensive threats by email early Saturday. Toronto police are investigating.

On Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "deeply disturbed" by the news, while Toronto Mayor John Tory said the threats are "completely unacceptable" and he stands with the Muslim community.

Mustafa Farooq, CEO of the National Council of Muslims, said he is calling on the federal government for a national action plan to dismantle white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in Canada in the wake of the threats. Such groups preach hate, he said. The council has sent a letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

Farooq said the council has no plans to name the mosque out of concern that it could be targeted further.

"These messages were extraordinarily violent," Farooq said in an interview from Ottawa. "When we get these threats, we don't take them lightly. And that's why the mosque was shut down and remains shut down."

Mosque administrators, based on advice from various experts, have closed the mosque for now, he said. It is not know for how long it will be closed.

The threats come a month after a fatal stabbing of a volunteer caretaker at an Etobicoke mosque. On Sept. 12, Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, 58, was stabbed once while he sat in a chair outside the front doors of the International Muslims Organization (IMO) mosque at 65 Rexdale Blvd., near Kipling Avenue.

Zafis had been controlling access to the mosque to ensure it was complying with public health regulations. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

uilherme "William" Von Neutegem, 34, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of Zafis. Von Neutegem appears to follow a hate group founded in the U.K., according to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a non-profit organization.

Farooq noted the threats also follow a shooting attack on a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29, 2017 in which six men were killed and five others critically injured.

Farooq said the council has spoken to the imams at the downtown mosque.

"Obviously, there's a lot of fear. There is a lot of concern. There's a lot of trepidation as to what happened. Why is this happening? What's going to happen next?" he said.

Farooq said he is pleased that police are investigating the threats, but said the federal government must take action and the council would like to see a plan within weeks.

Action is needed to ensure "we don't have to keep having these interviews, so that we don't continue to keep having to go to funeral after funeral, to respond to threats after threats," he said.

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