There were reports of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents. Because ethnicity and religion are often closely linked, it is difficult to categorize many incidents specifically as ethnic or religious intolerance.
In September a prominent Calgary imam and founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada and the group Muslims Against Terrorism was reportedly hit by a car while on his way to lead prayers. The imam stated the driver struck him twice with the vehicle and shouted the imam was a terrorist and a threat to Canada. The driver left the scene when the imam called 911. A police investigation was ongoing.
In May police arrested a man attempting to throw a Molotov cocktail through the window of a mosque and community center in east Montreal, Quebec, the fifth in a series of attacks on the same mosque, including attacks in April and May. Previous incidents included breaking of a window and door, and receipt of notes threatening death and violence. Police increased patrols in the neighborhood and surveillance of the facility. The center’s director stated that he was pleased with police collaboration.
In July unknown vandals spray painted racially motivated hate messages on the sidewalk in front of a Thornhill, Ontario, mosque and Islamic community center while worshippers attended Ramadan events inside the building. Police investigated the incident as a hate crime.
The Bnai Brith Canada League for Human Rights received 1,274 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in 2013, the most recent year for which data was available, down 5.3 percent from 1,345 in 2012. More than half of such reports (714) came from Ontario. The reports included 872 cases of harassment, 388 cases of vandalism, and 14 cases of violence. There were 25 cases involving attacks on synagogues, 155 involving private homes, and 57 involving community centers. Jewish students reported 89 cases of anti-Semitic incidents on university campuses, compared with 79 in 2012; another 59 involved primary and secondary school settings, compared with 79 in 2012. Bnai Brith also received 434 reports of web-based hate activity, compared with 521 in 2012.
In January a Manitoba judge sentenced a teenager to 18 months of probation and 75 hours of community service after he pled guilty to setting the hair of a female Jewish classmate alight while uttering anti-Semitic slurs in 2011. Police investigated the incident as a hate crime, but the judge concluded the teen targeted the girl for bullying, not because she was Jewish. The girl was uninjured in the incident. A Bnai Brith Canada spokesperson expressed disappointment with the ruling, stating the incident was motivated by hate and calling for a review of the decision.
During the Quebec provincial election campaign in March, a candidate falsely described kosher certification as a “rip off” and a “tax” paid directly to synagogues and called for a ban on kosher practices. The remark drew public criticism and the leader of the candidate’s party stated the candidate’s views did not reflect those of the party.
In February and March unknown vandals set fires in two separate incidents at Montreal synagogues. Authorities extinguished the flames, there was minimal damage, and police opened investigations that continued at year’s end.
There were several incidents in which vandals displayed anti-Semitic graffiti and symbols. In July unknown vandals painted swastikas on a Toronto-area bus shelter in a neighborhood with a significant Jewish population and hate messages directed against Muslims on a nearby mosque. Police opened an investigation that continued at year’s end. In June unknown vandals defaced a Toronto synagogue and Jewish cultural center and the private residence of a Jewish family with swastikas in separate incidents. Police opened an investigation that continued at year’s end. In May unknown individuals scrawled swastikas, racist graffiti, and the words “no Jews” on buildings and public signs in seven locations in Victoria and Saanich, British Columbia. Police opened a hate crime investigation that continued at year’s end. On April 21, unknown vandals painted swastikas and racist graffiti on a synagogue and, in separate incidents on April 24 and 25, on four nearby schools in Calgary. Calgary police deemed the incidents hate crimes and opened an investigation that continued at year’s end. Also on April 21, firefighters extinguished a burning 10-foot-wide swastika erected by unknown individuals at an Edmonton traffic intersection. The Edmonton Police Service hate crime unit opened an investigation that continued at year’s end.
In May unknown vandals damaged headstones at Hebrew Sick Benefit Cemetery in Winnipeg. Winnipeg police opened an investigation that continued at year’s end.