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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Vandalism at Owen Sound Muslim Association

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Congregation member stops short of calling it hate crime, but says he feels "unsafe" for first time.

People arriving for afternoon prayers at the Owen Sound Muslim Association today were met with a vandalized mosque, leaving members of the congregation feeling "unsafe".

Waleed Aslam -- a congregation member -- says he arrived at the mosque at 9th Avenue East and 7th Street East around noon today to find tomato sauce smeared on the front door, and smashed eggs littering the roof of the building.

Security cameras at the mosque revealed the vandalism happened overnight around 2:30 a.m., but could not determine how many suspects were involved.

Aslam says police have been contacted and an officer will be attending.

This incident comes just one day after Owen Sound Police said they were investigating a series of "hate-motivated" acts of mischief -- as neo-Nazi stickers were posted on street signs and other property throughout the city.

There is no immediate indication this incident of vandalism is connected.

Aslam stopped short of calling the vandalism a hate crime, but says it has left him feeling unsafe for the first time.

"I'm not going to jump to any conclusions," Aslam says. "All I can tell you is that me, my community members, my children, my wife, my brothers and sisters, feel unsafe for the first time attending our congregation."

"And that was never the case," continues Aslam. "This community has been one of the most welcoming communities ever. They've welcomed us with open arms."

Aslam says this is the first time the Owen Sound Muslim Association has dealt with vandalism.

"And it's very unfortunate in such a welcoming and supportive community," he adds.

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