Monday, June 12, 2006

Suspect sought after Islamic school vandalized


Peel Regional Police are searching for at least one culprit after a Muslim school in east Mississauga was vandalized.
Peel Cst. Jennifer Bryer said graffiti was spray-painted on a window and wall at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) community school, on Sherway Dr., some time between 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Bryer said the letters NBGK and NBGR were sprayed on the school, using red paint.
Investigators have not determined what the letters mean. The Peel police Race and Ethnic Relations Bureau is involved in the probe.
The vandalism occurred a few days after police arrested 17 people, including six from Mississauga, in connection with alleged terrorist activities.
The arrests have garnered international media attention.
Also this week, a mosque in Etobicoke was vandalized.
School principal Osama Ghanim said the incident is of great concern to parents, students and teachers.
"We cannot say with absolute certainty that this is connected to the (arrests and alleged terrorist plots), but given the atmosphere, the question of backlash has been raised repeatedly," he said. "This community is really scared right now."
Ghanim said hate crimes are disheartening. "It's not civilized and it's not rational to make generalizations," he said. "I don't know if we can combat that with education."
Police hope security cameras at the school captured images of the vandals.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 905-453-2121, ext. 1233.

You can reach Louie Rosella at

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