The Machzikei Hadas Synagogue in south Ottawa is hosting a solidarity event on Saturday morning in the wake of a handful of racist incidents in the city.
A mosque and a church where the pastor is black were spray-painted with racist graffiti this week following three instances of anti-Semitic graffiti in various locations throughout Ottawa. Mosque officials told CBC News they have handed surveillance video of the vandalism, done at 2:09 a.m. on Friday, over to police.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Ontario’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi will be on hand at the event, along with the city’s police chief and several religious figures.
“We invite you and your community to join us as our congregation expresses our gratitude to you, fellow residents of our national capital. We are united in solidarity as we make it clear that our community will remain defined as one based on mutual respect and co-operation,” posted the synagogue on its Facebook page.
Video evidence sought
The Ottawa police hate crimes unit is investigating the racist acts and looking into whether they are linked.
“It’s certainly a possibility, at least with the first three. That’s one of the working theories,” said Insp. Mike Laviolette. “There’s similar fact evidence.”
Laviolette said police are also examining video footage they obtained to help identify the culprits. “It’s rare today that you can go anywhere in this city that you’re not on camera somewhere,” he said.
“Whether it’s a commercial business that has video surveillance or a place of worship in and around their buildings or traffic cameras … we have a lot of resources at our disposal and we’re certainly maximizing that in order to help us move the investigation along.”
Saturday morning’s event at Machzikei Hadas Synagogue at 2310 Virginia Dr. will start at 11 a.m. ET.