Toronto police now say they are not formally investigating an anti-Islam protest rally held Friday outside a downtown mosque — one day after indicating the incident was being probed as a possible hate crime.
CBC A small crowd gathered outside a mosque, Masjid Toronto, in the heart of downtown Toronto with loudspeakers and banners in hand, shouting slogans about banning Islam as Muslims gathered to pray inside. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (formerly CAIR-Canada) said it was a clear attempt to intimidate the Muslim community.
The anti-Islam protesters, including members of groups including Canadians Against Islamization, Never Again Canada, and Suffragettes Against Shariah, were holding signs denouncing a motion tabled in Parliament that is attempting to prevent Islamophobia aka criticism of Islam.
On Saturday, police told CBC Toronto they were investigating whether the incident — which saw more than a dozen people converge on Masjid Toronto as Muslims prayed inside calling for a ban on Islam — crossed the “fine line” between freedom of expression and a criminal act. Asked what that line is, Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook responded Saturday, “That’s a conversation we’ve been having all day.”
Police said they received multiple complaints from those present at the mosque Friday, as well as others who read about the incident in media reports. But a day later, they said no formal investigation has been launched as no formal complaint has been received. No complaint has since been received from the mosque itself, Douglas-Cook said.
On Friday, some told CBC Toronto the rally taking place on the mosque’s doorstep blocked them from going inside for congregational prayer. Muslims hold Friday to be the holiest day of the week.
“This was a clear attempt to intimidate the Muslim community,” the civil liberties organization National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement Saturday, adding the community is “deeply disturbed that such an incident would happen at all, let alone following the tragic killing of six men at a Quebec City mosque just a few weeks ago.”
Those in support of the rally have described it as peaceful and an expression of free speech (something which Motion M-103 is trying to make a crime).
The anti-Islam protest also sparked a small counter protest from fat and/or ugly leftists and their offspring.
The Star Lane Patriquin, who was one of the first to arrive at the counter-protest, said it’s more important than ever for marginalized groups to “stand together.”
“I feel like solidarity among marginalized people now is particularly important because I worry the right wing is using a divide and conquer tactic with marginalized groups,” Patriquin said.
Kat Stoughton and her children Mia and Lily made hurried signs before attending the counter-protest.
Another anti-Islam rally was held in Toronto this week by Rebel Media in opposition to the Liberal motion. It was attended by Conservative leadership candidates Kellie Leitch, Chris Alexander and Brad Trost.