Man charged with terror hoax over Montreal university bomb threats
A man has been charged with carrying out a terror hoax after a bomb threat targeting Muslim students at Concordia University prompted the evacuation of three buildings on campus on Wednesday.
The 47-year-old man, Hisham Saadi, was arrested early Thursday morning and has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before his bail hearing tomorrow. It’s unclear whether Saadi has ties to the university, according to CBC News.
Classes have resumed at the university, but police and campus security have increased their surveillance.
In a letter sent on Wednesday morning to a number of media outlets, and obtained by VICE News, a group calling itself the Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada threatens to “DETONATE once per day, a small artisanal amateur explosive devices … where Moslems (sic) hang out.”
“Now that President Trump is in office south of the border, things have changed,” writes the group, which appears to be an offshoot of an American white supremacist group also known as White Citizens’ Council. The group was reportedly cited in the manifesto of Dylann Roof, who was convicted of killing nine black parishioners at a church in South Carolina.
The letter goes on to say that the bombs “are not meant to kill anybody. The only aim is to injure some Moslem (sic) students. Unfortunately some non-Moslems (sic) might be collateral damage.”
— Andy Riga, Montreal (@andyriga) March 1, 2017
#Concordia is now evacuating the GM Building. All classes in the EV and Hall Buildings have been cancelled. Visit concordia.ca for more info
— Concordia University (@Concordia) March 1, 2017
The threats came as the university was hosted an Islamic Awareness week. Concordia’s Muslim Student Association released a statement calling on law enforcement to investigate the incident as a hate crime.
“A threat against one of us is indeed a threat against all of us,” the group wrote.
A spokesperson for the university, which is one of the biggest in Canada with a population of more than 46,000, wrote on its website that afternoon classes have been canceled but will resume at 6 p.m.
“Concordia is now cooperating with police who are now on-site investigating,” the statement reads.
A spokesperson for the university told the Montreal Gazette that they’re taking the threat seriously but have no evidence to suggest it is a legitimate threat. Police also told reporters they haven’t found any explosives on campus.
Really worried about the bomb threats at Concordia. I feel scared about going to class now. Stay safe everyone.
— Anna (@annachibo) March 1, 2017
The incident comes just over a month after a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque left six worshippers dead and scores more wounded. A young Quebec man who reportedly holds far-right extremist views has been charged with murder in the incident.
Since then, there has been a host of other anti-Muslim attacks across the country, including acts of vandalism at mosques and Islamophobic comments online.
Cover: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press