Toronto man arrested over Jewish vandalism

Image copyright Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Image caption Toronto’s Smith’s Pond Park was one of the spots vandalised

A Toronto man has been arrested for allegedly causing $140,000 (around £101,000) of damage at religious sites and synagogues through alleged hate-motivated incidents.

Police say there is a connection between the man and a string of vandalism that targeted more than 100 Jewish institutions across the city in 2018.

The man, in his 30s, was arrested after a tip-off from members of the public.

He has been charged with five counts of mischief as a hate crime.

The Toronto Star says the man has also been charged with obstructing peace officers and resisting arrest after officers responded to a report of a man behaving strangely in east Toronto.

The man was later detained by police at a hospital.

The Toronto Sun, citing police, said the alleged incidents were serious and included disrupting service at an orthodox synagogue, damaging a crucifix at a Jewish cemetery and spitting on a Jewish woman.

The vandalism was first reported in the winter of 2018, but eventually exploded into a nationwide issue in May.

However, there have also been attempts to alleviate the situation. Toronto mayor John Tory in June promised a comprehensive and urgent investigation into the problem.

Image copyright Toronto Police Image caption Toronto mayor John Tory promised a ‘comprehensive and urgent investigation’ into the issue

Reports say the man is known to the Jewish community and may have targeted synagogues because he believed they were not sufficiently tolerant.

‘Extremely saddening’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is “extremely saddened and disturbed” about the “enormous damage to synagogues and other places of worship”.

“These acts are an affront to Canadians, and the Toronto Police Service will go to great lengths to find the perpetrators.”

He added: “Toronto is a truly great city, and hatred against one group of people is not welcome here.

“And we stand together to make sure that what happened in Toronto doesn’t happen anywhere else in Canada.”

Leave a Comment