In what is being considered a string of acts of vandalism in recent weeks, a respected Park-Extension Mosque is vandalized.
It was in the wee hours—specifically 3:10AM—during the past weekend that Noor-E-Madina Masjid on Jean Talon Street was vandalized. A perpetrator was picked up by security cameras after breaking the door window and crested the top of the stairs entering the mosque in hopes of either stealing money from the donation box or committing further hate crimes once inside. But what or rather whom the perpetrator found inside sent him running in a panic.
A perpetrator on the premises
I sat down with Noman Safdar, the Mosqu president and he said that no one was hurt and nothing was stolen. The perpetrator, who was picked up by security cameras entered, but was heard by the Imam who was studying at the time, before he could venture further into the building. The Imam hollered through the closed door of where he was and warned that he would be calling the authorities if he didn’t leave. The perpetrator did, but in essence the damage was still felt, the president and those at the Mosque feeling as though a grave injustice occurred, theirs being the fourth or so incident in recent weeks.
Noman Safdar showed up soon after being called, which was five minutes after the break-in and it was he that placed the call into the authorities. They asked if anyone was hurt and they stated that seeing that everything was under control, they would send someone only later that morning, giving the reason that they had no cars to dispatch to the location of the Mosque at the time when the crime was called in. They called at 7AM later that morning to see when was the best time to send someone in.
Once police arrived, they wanted a detailed tally of events and Noman gave them the footage from his security cameras—placed onto a USB key for the officers and they gave Noman a report number, assuring that they would do everything in their power to catch the man or those responsible … yet another event to add to those already tallied up in recent weeks, making these events a serial occurrence and one that is not being taken lightly by Noman and the other members of the Muslim community.
The damage done
I arrived mid-day Monday morning and found other news outlets there interviewing Noman. I had reached out to Noman on social media the previous day and had set up the interview. It seems like many others had done the same.
When I arrived, I noticed that the front door was boarded up with plywood but the rest of the premises looked okay, as I learned later and as I mentioned before nothing else was on. It was in the crime scene photos that most of the damage can be revealed … the damage that can be seen. Noman had a strong resolve but it could be seen that he and his brethren were clearly shaken by the events that had taken place in the early morning hours.
After they had called police, they taped up the door, using cardboard boxes—a temporary fix, as later that day, a piece of strong plywood was put in place of the cardboard.
Noman has been president of the Mosque for the last three and a half years and takes his position there seriously and with much pride. He states of the event: “We were very lucky,” and he credits it to the fact that the Imam was there in his study. He worries at what could have happened had he not been there. The Imam usually studies at night and goes to sleep shortly after the morning prayers.
A message to the community
To the members of the community, Noman wishes to say: “We’re going to put the window back up and take further security measures putting metal bars behind that door so that they can feel safer. It’s still pen—we didn’t close for any given period of time. Of course with the Covid-19 restrictions what they are, it’s a limited number of people, but we want to assure everyone that everything is okay, the Imam is fine—it wasn’t easy being in a situation like that but he’s okay.”