Vandals hit mosque for fourth time
Published Saturday, September 19, 2009 6:20PM EDT
A small mosque in the West Island has been covered in spray paint for the fourth time in a year.
This time the doors of Dorval Mosque were sprayed with graffiti that read "Koran 551," a reference to a controversial passage in the Koran.
Mazar Khan, who attends the mosque, says the repeated targeting by vandals is difficult.
"It's hurtful. It's damaging to the sentiments of the people who attend the mosque, and also damaging to normal human beings," said Khan.
In may, Federal Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney had strong words for the vandals when he visited the mosque.
"To come and violate their mosque, their place of worship is totally unacceptable and it's un-Canadian. Whoever did this should be ashamed of themselves," said Kenney on May 29.
Spraypainting Koran verses
Each time the vandals have hit the mosque, they refer to a different verse in the Koran.
The verse mentioned in this attack suggests that Muslims should not have relations with Jews or Christians, but Mosque president Mehmet Deger says the verse is being taken out of its historical context.
"They are trying to take us back 1500 years ago, these people. We do not agree with them. We have very peaceful relations with Jews and Christians," said Deger.
Imam Ahmad Shafaat says mosque has spent $4,000 on the frequent graffiti removal.
"It's bothering us a lot, and it's costing us a lot," said Shafaat.
To add further insult, this latest act of vandalism comes toward then end of the holy month of Ramadan.
On Sunday, muslim families will gather at the mosque to celebrate Eid, the festival that ends the month-long period of fasting.
"Just before our holiday they attacked, so they are trying their best to hurt us," said Deger.
Willing to talk
But despite the graffiti, the mosque's religious leader is still willing to sit down with the vandal.
Imam Shafaat says he would welcome the chance to discuss Islam.
"It is an act of violence that you're doing. If there is some issue that you have, why not come forward and discuss it?"