One man is in custody after swastikas were spray painted on a Montreal synagogue.
On Wednesday afternoon, the 28-year-old suspect was seen spraying anti-Semitic graffiti on the doors of Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount. Synagogue security notified the police who arrested the suspect within minutes.
“I was actually walking to another meeting and was maybe 100 metres away from the synagogue,” said Rabbi Adam Scheier.
“I quickly turned around and when I got there, the perpetrator had already been put in the back of a police car.”
Security cameras show the suspect brought a can of gasoline, presumably with the intent of setting the building on fire.
Shaar Hashomayim is one of the largest and oldest synagogues in Canada and also contains a private kindergarten and elementary school.
Police say the suspect likely suffers from mental health problems and will remain in custody until he can be brought before a judge. A court-ordered psychological evaluation is likely.
True North contributor Sam Eskenasi says the brazen attack on a synagogue shows that extreme anti-Semitic beliefs continue to persist in Canada.
“The intense level of hatred displayed — shown in the fact that this person chose to leave their house during a provincial lockdown and curfew simply to vandalize a place of worship — is troubling because anti-Semitism often moves beyond simple vandalism to more serious crimes, and rarely stays confined to the Jews.”
Less than a year ago, another synagogue in Montreal was completely ransacked, with the Torah and other sacred artifacts damaged or destroyed.