NEWS

Gatineau Mosque Target Of Vandalism

01/02/2012 03:00 EST | Updated 03/03/2012 05:12 EST

Representatives of a Gatineau, Que., mosque say they are concerned about vandalism after someone tried to set fire to two cars in their parking lot early Monday morning.

Sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. a person attempted to set fire to two cars parked at the mosque but was unsuccessful, according to Amadou Thiam, the secretary general for the Outaouais Islamic Centre.

On Monday morning the cars were still in the parking lot, their front and side windows smashed. One car had a wad of paper stuffed into its front gas tank.

Two windows at the mosque itself were also broken.

Thiam said it was the second time in the last month and the third time in the last four months the mosque has been a target of vandals.

Security camera footage of the parking lot has been turned over to Gatineau police, Thiam said.

While Gatineau police would not comment on Monday, they did acknowledge that there were a number of open investigations related to complaints of vandalism at the mosque.

Worries of escalating vandalism

Thiam said he wouldn't have drawn attention to the broken windows but said the attempted to set fires has him concerned.

"That really worried us and worried the community," he said.

But he doesn't think the incidents are part of an organized effort.

"This is a place where people come to worship...and I think the majority of people respect that," he said.

The mosque, located off Saint Joseph Boulevard just north of St. Jean-Bosco Park, draws about 500 people for Friday prayers and serves a community estimated at close to 5,000 people.