Indian arrested for hate-motivated attack on Canada mosque
April 10, 2023 02:59 PM
An Indian-origin man was arrested in Canada for allegedly yelling threats and religious slurs, and trying to run over people in a mosque earlier this week, local police said Sunday.
The incident, which took place as worshippers had gathered during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, was condemned as an “Islamophobia-motivated attack” by several officials.
Sharan Karunakaran, 28, was charged “with several criminal offences after a suspected hate-motivated incident at a mosque in the City of Markham,” the York Regional Police said.
The incident took place in the parking lot of the Islamic Society of Markham in Markham, Ontario. The police said they received a call at 6.55 am local time reporting a disturbance.
“Witnesses reported that a male suspect had attended in a vehicle and drove directly at one of the worshippers and yelled threats and religious slurs. The suspect drove dangerously in the parking lot before leaving the property,” said the police.
Sharan was arrested from Toronto on April 7 and is currently on bail.
Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen said that he was “deeply saddened” by the incident. “I am deeply saddened by the hate-motivated attack that took place outside of the Islamic Society of Markham on April 6th, during the holy month of Ramadan. The rise of Islamophobia-motivated attacks is deeply concerning and we must stand up against it. We will not let hate win,” he wrote on Twitter.
MP Mary Ng said that Islamophobia has no place in Canada. “Deeply disturbed to hear of the violent hate crimes and racist behaviour at the Islamic Society of Markham. To Muslims in Markham and Canada, I stand with you. During Ramadan, mosques are places of community and peace – and everyone should feel safe in their place of worship. This violence and Islamophobia has no place in our communities or in Canada. We will continue to take action so that everyone feels safe in this country and remain committed to combating this despicable behaviour,” she said in a series of tweets.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims described the incident as “greatly distressing”. It alleged that the suspect entered the mosque, tore a copy of the Quran and went on a “racist and Islamophobic rant directed towards the worshippers”. He then exited the mosque and then tried to run over or strike worshippers with his car, said the NCCM statement.
The mosque was occupied by thousands of worshippers as it was Ramzan, said NCCM, adding. “We are deeply troubled by this incident, especially as we near the anniversary of the London Terror Attack, where a family in London was run down in an act of hatred,” it said.