Over the past year, Canada has been a staunch ally to the people of Libya. As part of the NATO mission to assist in the liberation of the North African nation, the Harper government flexed its air force muscle while spending over $60 million in military intervention and $10 million in foreign aid.
But like many things in that part of the world, religion often trumps everything else.
According to a Reuters news report, "radical Islamists" have desecrated a Benghazi graveyard of Canadian, British and Italian soldiers killed during World War Two.
Amateur video footage of the attack, posted on YouTube, shows several men vandalizing the cemetery, apparently in retaliation to the burning of the Qur'an by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan last month.
According to Reuters, one man can be heard saying: "This is a grave of a Christian" as he uprooted a headstone from the ground. Another voice says of those buried in the cemetery: "These are dogs."
The Toronto Star reports that one of the damaged tombs is that of Flying Officer Martin Northmore, a 21-year-old from Toronto who was killed fighting in the North Africa campaigns which began in 1941 and lasted three years. Northmore is one of 10 Canadians buried at the site.
The National Transitional Council (NTC), Libya's interim leadership since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted last year, said it would pursue those responsible.
"This action does not reflect Libyan public opinion because Islam calls for respect for other religions," the council said in a statement.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission which maintains the cemeteries says the site will be restored.