Man caught on video shooting at Montreal mosque; windows damaged, no injuries

The Montreal police hate crimes unit is investigating after masked person was caught on video shooting at a local mosque with an air gun Monday night.

No one was hurt, but pockmarks from the bullets were left in the glass of the Centre Communautaire Islamique Assahaba, on Belanger St. in eastern Montreal, the mosque said in a Facebook post.

People chased after the person, who appeared to be a man, they wrote.

"A masked individual fired several bullets from a compressed air gun into the windows of the [mosque]," they wrote late Monday night. 

"The perpetrator was chased but he was able to escape us."

The shots left the windows at the mosque damaged (Photo/Angela Mackenzie, CTV)

A video they posted online shows a person, wearing baggy grey and a black hooded sweatshirt, walking in the middle of the residential street holding a gun and coming to a stop of the mask.

He stands, fiddles with his gun, fires several shots and runs away. Eleven shots can clearly be heard in the video.

Montreal police said the first they heard of the incident was by seeing the posted video, but they're trying to learn more.

“We saw the video at the same time as everybody in the media, so we don't have any clue about when it happened," said police spokesperson Manuel Couture.

"We're trying to get in touch with the person over there to get more information."

Last fall, a series of mosques around the Montreal area were broken into and vandalized, with money stolen.
 

Events like this need to be treated seriously, said Fo Niemi with the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations. 

"For weeks now we heard about all these hate acts and hate crimes directed at Asians, and now we see this and you start to ask yourself serious questions. Therefore the need to act and the need to act urgently," he said.

That action needs to start with government, added Shaheen Ashraf, from the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

"People are saying there’s no systemic racism here, there’s no racism in Quebec and things like that, so people are taking advantage. Leaders have to be strongly condemning these things," she said.

- With files form CTV News Montreal's Angela MacKenzie
 

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