NEWS

President Of Quebec City Mosque Where 6 Were Killed Sees Car Set On Fire

Days earlier, Quebec City's mayor announced the creation of a new Muslim cemetery.

08/30/2017 13:56 EDT | Updated 08/30/2017 16:51 EDT
ALICE CHICHE via Getty Images
Police stand guard on the roof of the Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City, Canada prior to the arrival of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to attend a vigil on January 30, 2017.

QUEBEC — A car belonging to the president of a Quebec City mosque where six men were shot dead in January was set on fire earlier this month, police confirmed Wednesday.

In a statement, the mosque said the incident occurred on Aug. 6 at about 1:30 a.m. in the driveway of Mohamed Labidi's home.

It said the car was a total loss and that the fire also spread to the hedge of the home.

"We remain on the lookout for any progress in the investigation and we hope charges will be brought against these criminals once they are identified,'' the statement read.

"This hateful crime toward (Labidi) and his family are the latest in a long series of hateful acts against our organization.''

AFP/Getty Images
Mohamed Labidi, vice- president of the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, speaks to the media on Feb. 21, 2017 at the Quebec City Courthouse after alleged mosque shooting suspect Alexandre Bissonnette's appearance in Quebec City.

The mosque also said excrement was thrown at its doors several days after the car was destroyed.

A Quebec City police spokesman, Lt. Jean-Francois Vezina, described the fire as criminal but said authorities haven't yet determined whether it was a hate crime.

"Nothing is being ruled out,'' he said.

"It could be a gesture that isn't at all connected to the Muslim community as much as it could be an event of a hateful nature.''

Vezina said police haven't identified any suspects and he encouraged the public to come forward with information.

It could be a gesture that isn't at all connected to the Muslim community as much as it could be an event of a hateful nature.Lt. Jean-Francois Vezina

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume said he was shocked and "profoundly disappointed'' to hear the news and said the timing was likely not a coincidence.

The incident occurred just days after Labeaume announced an agreement with the mosque on the creation of a new Muslim cemetery in the city.

"What happened isn't like Quebec City,'' he told reporters. "Quebec City is an open city where everyone must be able to live together in safety and respect.''

The mosque has reported hateful incidents before, including in July when it received a package containing a defaced Qur'an and a hateful note.

In June 2016, a pig's head was left at the entrance of the same mosque during Ramadan.

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