Canadian police have arrested and charged a man after what they described as a “hate-motivated incident” at a mosque in Ontario. The suspect, 28-year-old Sharan Karunakaran, allegedly drove towards a worshipper at the mosque in Markham and shouted threats and religious slurs. The incident occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when many people attend mosques. Thousands of worshippers attend the mosque in Markham.
The Islamic Society of Markham (ISM) said that the suspect had entered the mosque on Thursday and had apparently torn a Koran and ranted at worshippers. However, the police statement released on Sunday did not mention the Koran being torn. The suspect was later arrested in Toronto by the York Regional Police.
Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng condemned the incident and called it a hate crime, saying that it had no place in Canadian society. She added that “this violence and Islamophobia has no place in our communities”. Police have charged the suspect with uttering threats, assault with a weapon, and dangerous driving. His next scheduled appearance will be at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Newmarket on Tuesday.
The incident has caused concern among many Canadians who fear that such incidents may become more common. The Canadian government has been criticised for not doing enough to combat Islamophobia and other forms of hate speech. However, many Canadians have also expressed their support for the Muslim community and have called for greater tolerance and understanding.