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Man charged with series of hate-motivated assaults


A Toronto man has been charged after a string of hate-motivated assaults last week, including one at a Toronto mosque on Saturday.

The latest of the three incidents occurred at about 6:40 a.m. Saturday at the Toronto Islamic Centre, on Yonge Street at Davenport Road. Police said a man approached the mosque and “became confrontational” toward several people standing outside.

The man threw a rock at the individuals and yelled derogatory slurs before threatening them with a bike chain. One person sustained minor injuries.

According to Shaffni Nalir, general manager of the Toronto Islamic Centre, the man was uttering Islamophobic slurs and identified himself as Israeli. Nalir said five people caught and held the man down until police came.

In a statement posted to social media, the Toronto Islamic Centre said Saturday’s attack occurred after the dawn prayer. The mosque noted this is not the first time it has faced Islamophobia and said it “would not be intimidated.”

“While our first priority is to ensure the ongoing safety of worshippers, we need to see long-term change to fight all forms of hate, including Islamophobia.”

Nalir said he was relieved an arrest had been made, but said the entire community is on edge. “In a situation like this, we think of the vulnerable members of our community, and as a mosque we feel we are responsible for their safety.”

The other incidents took place last Wednesday morning. A cab driver was in the area of Front and York streets around 4:25 a.m. when he rolled down his window to ask a man if he needed a ride. The man asked the driver if he was Muslim. When the driver responded, police said the man sprayed him in the face with an unknown substance.

Hours later, police said a woman wearing a hijab was walking on a path near Fort York Boulevard and Spadina Avenue when a man approached her. Police said the man made derogatory statements and then sprayed her in the face with an unknown substance.

Chandler Marshall, 28, faces charges of assault with a weapon, assault, carrying a concealed weapon, mischief and uttering threats.





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