Shock and anger is spreading among Hamilton’s 20,000 Muslims after the city’s largest mosque was firebombed. The mosque includes the Islamic School of Hamilton which has about 200 students from kindergarten to Grade 8. Attackers had used a large rock to smash a hole in a front window at the mosque and then lobbed in what police are calling an “incendiary device.”
The Molotov cocktail did only minimal damage to the Stone Church Road East mosque, approximately $3,000 CAD. The Hamilton police hate crime unit and chief arson investigator Sgt. Tim Bower are leading the investigation. Premier Dalton McGuinty, Hamilton Mountain MP Chris Charlton and the Ottawa-based Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations were among those who condemned the attack. “Ontario’s diversity is our great strength,” McGuinty said. “So when a mosque or other place of worship is desecrated, it is an attack on all Ontarians.”
The same mosque was damaged in 2001 when vandals destroyed its front lobby by smashing windows with beer bottles in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.