Canada: Mosque in Ontario ‘deliberately’ set on fire

A mosque in the province of Ontario, Canada, was set on fire on the weekend in what police are saying was a “deliberate” act.

However, it is not yet clear whether the arson was related to the terrorist attacks in Paris, The Canadian Press reported Sunday.

The fire at the Masjid Al-Salaam in Peterborough, located 125 kilometers (77 miles) northeast of Toronto, was set at around 11:00 p.m. on Saturday night, police confirmed Sunday, approximately 30 minutes after a group celebrating thebirth of a baby left the building.

Police told The Canadian Press they don’t know the motive, and they don’t have a suspect. They also could not say whether the fire was connected to the attacks in Paris which the Islamic State had claimed.

However, a Muslim group is calling for police to treat the fire as a potential hate crime.

“We call on authorities to investigate this arson as a hate crime so a clear message is sent that these acts have no place in our communities,” Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said in a statement quoted by the Canadian news agency.

“This attack is very disturbing. The mosque is regularly attended by families with young children. We are relieved no one was injured as this incident could have been much worse,” said Gardee, who stopped short of drawing any link to the Paris terrorism.

“It’s hard to make that causal connection right now,” he told The Canadian Pressin a phone interview. “It’s something that we’re monitoring and we will let the investigators do their jobs.”

The Peterborough fire department has estimated the damages to the mosque at $80,000, according to the report. An online fundraising campaign was started Sunday to raise money for the mosque. It had raised more than $22,000.

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, on Saturday condemned the terror attacks in Paris but ignored their Islamist terror connection.

Trudeau, who entered his post late last month, said in an initial official statement, “I’m shocked and saddened that so many people have been killed and injured today in several terror attacks in Paris, and that others were held hostage.”

“Canada stands to the right of France in this dark period and is offering aid. We will continue to work closely with the international community to help prevent such horrible and illogical acts,” said Trudeau.

In his statements, Trudeau did not reference the Islamist terrorists who conducted the attack, their motivations and ideology. He also did not mention how the attacks might affect the national security of Canada.

Trudeau has also announced that he is ready to settle 25.000 migrants from Syria. He likewise announced he would withdraw Canadian fighter jets from Syria and Iraq, where they had been fighting ISIS.