Parc-Extension mosque broken into following string of similar crimes

·2 min read

The Noor-E-Madina Mosque in the Montreal neighbourhood of Parc-Extension was broken into this weekend.

This is the fourth time a mosque in the Montreal area has been targeted in the last month.

Nothing was taken, said mosque president Noman Safdar, since an imam who was inside the building appears to have scared off the culprit.

"At about 3:10 in the morning, somebody broke this door here, went up to the mosque. It was all caught on camera," Safdar said.

"So as soon as the person came up, the imam was behind this door you see here. He didn't open it out of precaution and he yelled out to him, 'hey I'm calling the police.'"

Safdar said he's grateful his imam was safe behind a locked door when the intruder arrived.

"We're definitely lucky and I'm thankful to the imam for taking the step that he did. It definitely saved us a lot of damages."

Safdar called the police immediately after the break-in but was told there were "no cars available."

He said police contacted him later that morning to file an official report.

An SPVM spokesperson told CBC on Sunday that the report and the surveillance footage have been handed over to investigators.

They are still working to determine whether the break-in at Noor-E-Madina Mosque is connected to the others.

After Safdar shared surveillance video of the incident online, members of other mosques that were targeted this month quickly reached out.

Safdar suspects the same person might be behind all four of the recent incidents.

"They seem to confirm that it looks like, from the hat and the clothing, that it looks like it's the same person," he said.

Members from other mosques targeted recently told CBC that they are frustrated with the police's response to these crimes.

Tariq Khan, who volunteers at the Al-Salam Mosque downtown, said that based on surveillance footage from other mosques, police did manage to track down a suspect and make an arrest, but the man was then released with a promise to appear in court.

Khan said the man then broke into two more mosques in the following days.

Montreal police are investigating but would not confirm they had made an arrest in the case.