By Sarah El-Sheikh
A fire broke out by unknown assailants in Al-Salaam Mosque located in Ontario, Canada on Sunday; no injuries or deaths were reported.
Ontario mayor Daryl Bennet posted a statement on his Twitter account, saying: “If this is found to be a hate crime, it in no way represents the feelings of our community. Attacking a place of worship is a despicable act.”
He highlighted that Muslim Canadians contribute and donate to the less fortunate and charity organisations there. He also said he looks forward to reopening the mosque, and that police investigations are ongoing.
Al-Azhar condemned the attack in its Monday statement and called for Western governments to protect Muslim residents, their houses, and mosques from any attacks. They said these attacks will incite division within communities.
Foreign media outlets reported two other mosques were attacked and some Muslim families threatened. In Orlando, Florida, a Muslim family found bullet holes in their garage door when they returned home. Police are investigating the bullet holes to determine whether it was a hate crime, according to Orlando news.
Negative and hateful behaviour directed towards Muslims has also begun in Oxfordshire, England. Police arrested a woman on charges of being “racially abusive” when she posted a Facebook post saying she will not receive Muslims at her beauty salon, according to The Telegraph.
A Muslim couple was violently assaulted by 15-year-olds at Wellesley Road in Scotland. The husband received hospital treatment for a serious injury to his eye and his wife sustained minor injuries.
A Turkish man was shot by the three people in Cambria city, North France. Further, video was released on social media of a security guard at Zara clothing store in Paris, who banned a veiled woman from entering the store.
The wave of attacks raised concerns of Muslims facing a new wave of Islamophobia due to the violent attacks in Paris last Friday.
“All these racist attacks against Muslims in Western countries currently is manufactured by the international media’s absolute blackout of what the Muslims themselves are experiencing in their countries, such as in Myanmar and Burma,” Media Professor Abeer Salem told Daily News Egypt.
“There are agendas that aim to spread Islamophobia worldwide and they always work. Middle Eastern media’s response to the blame on Muslims is very weak, and it is suggested there be more response from Arab representatives,” Salem said.
On the relevance of 11 September 2001 attacks to the Paris attacks, she said the impact of Islamophobia is bigger this time because of the spread of social media and how they efficiently work on opening the public’s eyes on Middle East conditions. Muslims also suffer from terrorism in their own countries and even with their governments, she said.
“It still cannot be denied that what happened in Paris will expose many Muslims worldwide to encounter the worst period in their lives in Europe due to racist abuse,” Salem said.
Islamic preacher Saad Mahmoud told Daily News Egypt that Western governments were the first to plant the seed of terrorism. “European countries expected that terrorism would not reach them but reality was stronger than their expectations,” he said.