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Symbols of hate

Church and mosque targeted in fifth incident of racist graffiti in Ottawa

Fifth incident of racist graffiti this week in Ottawa

Bright red swastikas defaced a mosque and a predominantly black church in Ottawa Friday morning — the fifth such incident in the Canadian capital this week. But the racist graffiti wasn’t there long before neighbours arrived to help clean it up.

At the Ottawa mosque, the swastikas accompanied the words “fuck Allah” and “go home.” At the Parkdale United Church, they were painted under the N-word, along with white supremacist numbers 14 and 88.

Racist graffiti has also appeared on a synagogue, a Jewish woman’s home and a prayer centre this week. The incidents follow an apparent surge of hate crimes in the United States after Donald Trump’s presidential victory last week.


The Ottawa Police hate crime unit is looking into the latest incidents, an Ottawa police spokesperson told VICE News, however investigators need to find evidence the graffiti was motivated by hate and wasn’t a prank before they can declare it a hate crime.

Parkdale United Church Reverend Anthony Bailey told CBC he was shocked by the graffiti, and called it “a wave of hatefulness that seems to have been generated. People feel emboldened to do this.” It was the second time this year racist graffiti had targeted his church, with another similar incident in January.

“We as a congregation and as people of faith reject this. We are outraged but we will not be deterred in our work for love and reconciliation,” he said.

Ahmed Ibrahim, vice president of the Ottawa Mosque, told CBC he got a call in the morning that there was “nasty graffiti” on the mosque. “It was a hateful message, it was painful to see it on our mosque.” It was also painful to hear of similar messages painted on the Parkdale United Church and synagogues, he said.

“This is not Canada,” Ibrahim said. “I know Canada is a very welcoming country, accepting country, the majority of the people here are full of love and respect for each other. This is a few of a very minute minority in Canada.”

He said the graffiti was cleaned up and “love and respect between Canadians” would remain in its wake.

Police are encouraging Ottawa residents to report anything suspicious. “It’s not just the community affected, it’s everybody,” the Ottawa Police

Cover: Photo by Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

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