Hate crime charge follows attack

  • April 13, 2007
TORONTO - An attack on a Jewish community centre in midtown Toronto is part of a continuing pattern that needs to be addressed, said Fr. Damian MacPherson, the archdiocese of Toronto’s interfaith and ecumenical affairs officer.
“These events continue to happen across the land. It’s unfortunate,” MacPherson said.

The newly formed Toronto Area Interfaith Council should provide a forum for religious leaders who are concerned about the way in which any particular religion is targeted in hate crimes, he said.

“That’s part of what it’s organized to do,” said the Franciscan friar. “The Jewish community has a right to appeal to the larger community for some kind of relief from this prejudice and anti-Semitism.”

On March 15 a TTC bus driver reported seeing a man throw an object at the Chabad of Midtown Jewish Centre, breaking four windows. Police responded at 1:15 a.m.

Police arrested a 20-year-old man at the scene wearing a T-shirt with neo-Nazi symbols on it. Police were treating the act of vandalism as a hate crime.

Canadian Jewish Congress Ontario region chair Joel Richter called the attack “a malicious act of cowardice.”

Since Sept. 11, 2001 synagogues and other Jewish centres have hired full-time security and at many synagogues worshippers have been routinely searched on their way to services.

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