Toronto police arrests man over hate-motivated incidents targeting Muslims in three attacks

Toronto police arrests man over hate-motivated incidents targeting Muslims in three attacks

Police on Saturday announced the arrest of a 28-year-old man in three hate-motivated incidents, with the latest one taking place early this morning at the Toronto Islamic Centre.

Chandler Marshall of Toronto is facing over a dozen charges in incidents that saw a taxi driver, as well as a woman wearing a hijab sprayed with a foreign substance and worshippers at a Toronto mosque attacked with a rock and bike chain, police said.

In the attack targeting congregants that took place early Saturday, Marshall allegedly approached the mosque and became confrontational towards worshippers.

He is said to have thrown a rock at the congregants and yelled derogatory slurs at them.

He then reportedly attacked one of the congregants with a bike chain. The victim suffered minor injuries.

‘We will not be intimidated’

In a statement issued after the attack on congregants outside the mosque, the National Council of Canadian Muslims shared details of the incident.

“This morning, at the dawn prayer, there was an attack at the Toronto Islamic Centre by an individual who described himself as Israeli, there to hurt Muslims, and described Muslims as terrorists,” the NCCM said in a statement shared on Twitter.

“The individual assaulted worshippers, including throwing a heavy rock and kicking the windows,” the NCCM added.

The organisation further said it was in touch with Toronto police and described the three incidents as violent and Islamophobic.

The Islamic centre outside of which the attack took place said in a statement: “We want to be clear: we will not be intimidated. While our first priority is to ensure the ongoing safety of worshippers, we need to see long term change to fight all forms of hate, including Islamophobia”.

Meanwhile, the police also shared details of the other two incidents involving Marshall that occurred on Wednesday.

Marshall had allegedly attacked a taxi driver in the area of Front and Yonge on Wednesday after asking the man if he was Muslim, upon which he sprayed the driver in the face with an unknown substance and fled.

Later that day, Marshall approached a woman wearing a hijab and made derogatory remarks at her before spraying her in the face with an unknown substance. The woman was transported to a hospital with minor injuries.

Marshall is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

‘Islamophobia and violence are unacceptable’

Hours after the arrest, Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow in a statement said that “Islamophobia and violence” were unacceptable.

“[The] TIC [Toronto Islamic Centre & Community Services] calls on us to stand together against all forms of hate. Let’s heed their call,” Chow said in a statement shared on Twitter.

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