Tuesday October 13, 2020
A Toronto mosque was forced to temporarily close its doors over Thanksgiving after receiving a message that threatened a “Christ church (sic) all over again,” in reference to a deadly terrorist attack in New Zealand last year.Police confirmed Monday that an investigation is underway, but Mustafa Farooq, CEO of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), said the violent nature of the messages — he declined to say how many were sent — had prompted the mosque to close Saturday. Farooq said they’re not sure when they’ll be able to reopen.
The NCCM is not naming the specific mosque, citing safety concerns.
An email sent to someone at the mosque on Saturday, parts of which were shown to the Star by Farooq, uses multiple slurs and threatens to “murder” every Muslim who “hates the Jewish people.”
The message also mentions having “the guns to do a Christ church,” a reference to a brutal 2019 attack that saw a heavily armed white supremacist enter two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and gun down worshippers, killing 51 people and wounding dozens more.
In an emailed statement, Const. Alex Li said police are “actively investigating” after the NCCM reported threats to their community members. Officers are asking the public to report any threatening or suspicious behaviour.
“We will continue to have enhanced patrols in the areas identified, and will reassure members of the public that we have deployed available resources in those areas affected to ensure the safety of our communities,” he wrote.
The incident also comes as the Toronto Muslim community grapples with the killing of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, who was stabbed to death outside a Rexdale mosque last month.