Waterloo police make arrest in Cambridge, Ont. mosque vandalism

Police in Waterloo Region have arrested and charged a man in connection with severe vandalism of a Cambridge, Ont. mosque but said there is no proof to support the idea that the incident was a hate crime.

“Currently, the evidence does not support the inference that the crime was motivated by racial or religious hatred,” Cherri Greeno, spokesperson for the Waterloo Regional Police Service, said in an email on Sunday.

The man, 35, of Cambridge, has been charged with breaking and entering, property damage over $5,000, and possession of stolen property, among other offences.

Greeno said in an email that police arrested the man on Friday. The vandalism of the Baitul Kareem Mosque occurred on July 14. Officers were called to the mosque at about 5:30 p.m.

In a news release after the crime occurred, police said they believe that suspect forced entry into the mosque, caused significant damage and stole property.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, an Islamic organization, said vandalism of the mosque caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Police Chief Bryan Larkin has said in the release: “Places of worship are sacred, and this criminal act cannot and will not be tolerated in Waterloo Region. Rest assured, we are actively investigating, and committing appropriate resources to this investigation. My thoughts are with our Muslim community as they cope with this destructive and hateful crime.”

Waterloo Region police’s break, enter and vehicle theft team and hate crime unit investigated the incident.

In a news release on Sunday, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, an Islamic organization, said it is pleased that a suspect has been arrested and charged. It said the damage was in the tens of thousands of dollars. At the time, it had said dozens of boxes filled with books and flyers were destroyed.

“We’re overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support from Canadians across the country,” Lal Khan Malik, National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, said in the release.

“Our mosques will always remain open to all members of the community as a symbol of peace.”

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