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Anti-Semitic graffiti found in Thornhill, days after Islamic centre defaced

Police tape marks a crime scene in this file photo.


York Regional Police say they are investigating another incident of hateful graffiti north of Toronto, just days after anti-Muslim messages were found scrawled outside an Islamic centre.

Const. Andy Pattenden says anti-Semitic words — including a vulgar reference to Israel — were found Wednesday on a bus shelter in Thornhill, Ont., (near Spring Gate Boulevard and Atkinson Avenue).

He says the incident happened between midnight and 7 a.m. and police are appealing to the public for any information.

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Earlier this week, the phrase "Arab go home" and a vulgar reference to the ongoing Gaza-Israel conflict were found outside the Jaffari Community Centre.

Police say the hate crime unit has taken over both cases, though there is no immediate word on suspects.

Howard English of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs condemned the hateful comments, adding the centre is in contact with police.

"We are particularly concerned about a growing trend since the conflict began in the Middle East toward the metamorphosis of anti-Israel commentary into outright expressions of anti-Semitism," he said.

"One of the things Canadians don't want is the importation of conflicts to our country."

The Islamic Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat of Toronto, which runs the vandalized Islamic centre, said earlier that it was "disturbed" about that incident, which came a week after it hosted an interfaith event.

It also took place during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends next week.

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"While appalling, these actions do not represent the attitudes of Canada's multicultural society," the group said Monday in a statement.

Police did not say if the two incidents are related, but they are checking for any video surveillance of the areas.

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