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Religious groups and anti-racism advocates say they are pleased that Toronto police have laid charges after an incident described by officers as “hate-motivated” was caught on video.

A 50-year-old local man faces two counts of assault and one count of threatening death after an altercation Monday evening at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, which acts as a hub for passenger boats connecting the city’s downtown to the Toronto Islands.

A video of the incident, viewed widely on social media, shows a man who appears to be white confronting two men and their families, which included women wearing head scarves.

The man repeatedly demands to know where the families are from, and refers several times to Ontario being “my (expletive) province.”

He is seen exchanging shoves with the two men. He is also heard threatening to kill one of them, and to smash in his head.

“We are really pleased to see the police acting quite quickly to bring charges against this individual,” said Amira Elghawaby, board member for the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, which researches and monitors hate groups.

“It’s very critical that authorities do send a signal to anyone who considers taking any hateful, harmful action against anyone.”

Though it’s unclear what the man’s motivations were, this is a particularly worrisome time for the Muslim community given current events, Elghawaby said.

“Whenever there is a high-profile tragedy – for instance the Danforth shooting – where the perpetrator was found to be Muslim, our communities will immediately feel concerned that people will act out on their own personal ignorance and fear and stereotypes,” she said.

Two people were killed and 13 others injured in a shooting rampage on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue on Sunday. The gunman, identified by authorities as Faisal Hussain, was also killed.

“And of course we have also had a lot of rhetoric around immigration here in Ontario as well, so all of this often creates a climate where perhaps people feel emboldened to act out on their racist and Islamophobic tendencies.”

Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, commended Toronto police “for demonstrating that such hateful actions will not be tolerated” in Toronto.

“Unfortunately, we are continuing to see reports of these kinds of hostile incidents directed against individuals who are Muslim or who are perceived to be Muslim,” Gardee said in a written statement. “It is therefore vital that we continue to stand united in Canada against intolerance and hate.”

The charges are “much overdue,” Black Action Defence Committee director Kingsley Gilliam wrote in a Facebook post.

“In 1975, the Black community through assistance from Attorney General of Ontario Roy McMurtry got the federal government to outlaw and criminalize hate messages against non-white persons in the Criminal Code of Canada,” Gilliam wrote.

“Now 43 years later we see white racists attacking non-whites in public spaces in Ontario. Have we progressed or regressed?”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said on Twitter that it was pleased with the charges.

“No place for hate in Canada,” the advocacy group tweeted. “We – and the vast majority of Torontonians – were appalled to hear of this ugly act.”

Toronto police are asking the Ministry of the Attorney General for permission to charge the suspect with hate offences, as is standard procedure in these types of cases, Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said Friday.

The incident “was clearly hate-motivated,” Sidhu said. “Considering recent events in the city, this is something that we take very seriously.”

Lombray Ball of Toronto is charged with two counts of assault and one count of threatening death. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

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