Six months after a deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque, its head’s car was deliberately set on fire, officials said on Wednesday.
“Another hateful act” targeted the mosque and its head, Mohamed Labidi, in addition to “a long series” of other incidents, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec said in a statement.
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The fire was set on August 6 but was only made public on Wednesday in order to allow police to investigate.
Mosque officials and the mayor linked the fire to an August 4 announcement of the upcoming opening of the city’s first Muslim cemetery.
“It would be a strange coincidence” if the two were not somehow related, said Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume.
Police are not ruling out any motive, whether it was a hate crime against Muslims or just a random act of vandalism, said police spokesman Jean-Francois Vezina.
Labeaume had championed the new Muslim cemetery as a sign of support for Quebec City’s relatively small Muslim community following an avowed white supremacist’s killing of six worshippers at a local mosque in January.
The “increase in hateful gestures” towards the Muslim community in Quebec City is “worrying,” Labeaume commented.
These incidents come as nationalist or right-wing “extremists” in the Canadian province have become more vocal against immigration and “radical Islam”.
In June, a group left a pig’s severed head at the entrance of the mosque targeted by the lone gunman.
Police are investigating these incidents but no suspects have been named so far.