Skip to main content
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Access every election story that matters
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A swastika is shown on the Baitul Hadi Mosque in Edmonton in this handout photo posted on Twitter. Edmonton police say are investigating a string of hateful vandalism after a mosque reported a swastika painted on the building. Investigators said they believe the vandalism at Baitul Hadi Mosque happened around the same time in April when a vehicle and a fence were vandalized in the downtown neighbourhood.

HO/The Canadian Press

Politicians and Muslim leaders are condemning the defacing of an Edmonton mosque with a swastika – the latest example in a string of anti-Muslim attacks and vandalism in the city.

The vandalism at the Baitul Hadi Mosque was reported this week, though Edmonton’s police department says the graffiti may have been there since April, when similar vandalism was reported nearby. Investigators are consulting the department’s hate crime unit.

Crimes against Muslim Canadians have received renewed attention in the wake of an attack in London, Ont., in which four members of a family were killed and another injured when a man driving a pickup truck ran them over in what police described as a hate-motivated attack.

Story continues below advertisement

There have been several incidents in recent months of attacks on Muslims in Edmonton, including assaults against women wearing hijabs.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney condemned the vandalism and said he hoped the perpetrators are caught.

“So hurtful to see this,” he wrote on Twitter. “I have visited this mosque many times. A wonderful community made up of proud Canadians who are constantly giving back to our broader community.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said in a statement that he was “disturbed and angered” by the incident.

“These acts of hate must stop,” the statement said. “Our Muslim community deserves to feel safe and welcome in our city. Full stop.”

Nasir Butt, the mosque’s imam, condemned the vandalism in a statement.

“We are deeply disturbed by the rising acts of violence against the Muslim community,” the statement said.

Story continues below advertisement

Police in Edmonton say two women wearing hijabs were sitting in a mall parking lot in December when a stranger shattered a window, assaulted the passenger as she tried to flee and then assaulted the second woman when she tried to help. A man faces charges of assault and mischief in that case.

In March, a man was charged after three allegedly hate-motivated attacks on women in Edmonton.

In the first, police said the Black victim was followed inside a convenience store on Jan. 18 and allegedly assaulted.

The second and third attacks took place on the same day in early February. One woman was wearing a hijab and the other wore a burqa.

A 44-year-old man faces three counts of uttering threats and three counts of assault in those incidents.

Jibril Ibrahim, president of the Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton, said incidents such as the attack in London, as well as the mosque vandalism and recent assaults in his city, should prompt a wider discussion about the source of anti-Muslim hatred in Canada and how best to confront it.

Story continues below advertisement

He said more work needs to be done to study the extent of the issue in Edmonton and elsewhere in Canada with an eye to come up with a comprehensive strategy that ensures policymakers, the police and members of the Muslim community are all working together.

Mr. Ibrahim said all too often politicians condemn such incidents without following up with action, or launch anti-racism task forces without adequately involving the affected communities.

“None of those entities – whether it’s a province or city – is talking to the community affected, other than making a statement on TV,” he said.

“We appreciate this empathy. We appreciate what they are saying. But the time to talk and sympathize is gone now.”

The City of Edmonton started an anti-racism committee in the fall of 2019. The Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council was launched the same year under the previous NDP government.

Safwan Choudhry, spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, said news of the vandalism at the mosque is especially concerning in light of the attack in London.

Story continues below advertisement

“These incidences are not new and they are increasing,” he said. “This incident [at the Edmonton mosque] really hit a nerve.”

With a report from The Canadian Press

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies