Authorities in Canada are investigating a break and enter and vandalism to a Toronto mosque, Toronto police said Monday.
The caretaker at the Baitul Jannah Islamic Centre discovered the break-in on Sunday, Global News reported.
“They threw out all of our Qurans which were on the shelf,” said mosque president Atiqur Rahman. “They took the recording for the CCTV cameras. They took it out of the machine.”
Rahman told Global News that break-ins are happening more frequently than ever before.
“I think it’s Islamophobia, or someone doesn’t like us,” he said.
Police said break-ins occurred at the mosque in March and April as well as June, but authorities said it was too early in the investigation to call the latest incident a hate crime. However, the police hate crimes unit has been notified.
In the latest round of vandalism, the mosque office was ransacked and donation boxes were smashed. In a previous break-in, 14 of 15 donation boxes were taken containing thousands of dollars, Rahman said.
"We had 15 and they left one of them. They took the money and broke doors. We've had to change the locks several times,” he added.
Mosque board of directors member Shahab Siddique said the reasons for the repeated break-ins and vandalism are hard to understand.
“This is a religion of peace, and there are some people who hate us. This is shocking, and we are really devastated” Siddique said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he would visit the mosque later Monday to demonstrate support for the Muslim community.
Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the fourth largest in North America, with a population of about 2.8 million./agencies