By Bill DoucetReporterSat., July 17, 2021
Maqbool Sheikh, advocacy director at Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, stands with some of the damage, including a trashed glass top stove, at the Baitul Kareem Mosque in the Galt area of Cambridge. The mosque had its interior vandalized during a break-in.
Waterloo Region police have made an arrest in what the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada community considered an “act of hate” at the Baitul Kareem Mosque.
Police said a 35-year-old Cambridge man has been arrested and charged with break and enter, property damage over $5,000 and possession of stolen property, as well as Controlled Drugs and Substances Act offences.
“Our community is grateful to the Waterloo Regional Police Service for conducting an extensive and efficient effort which has led to an arrest of the suspect,” Nomaan Mubashir, president of Baitul Kareem Mosque, told the Times.
“This traumatic incident has shaken up the local mosque members, but nonetheless the outpouring of community support that we have received from our neighbours, fellow faith leaders and Canadians across the country has been overwhelmingly positive and we are ever grateful.”
The break and enter at the mosque on Elliott Street, which has made headlines across the province, was called in on July 14 at approximately 5:30 p.m. Police collected evidence from the mosque, which was “severely vandalized.”
The perpetrators targeted Islamic literature and destroyed dozens of boxes filled with books and flyers, said a Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada news release.
The damage to the building is estimated at more than $10,000, with boxes and tables overturned and the stove destroyed. A TV was also taken with the hard drive that contained security footage around the property.
Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry said via Twitter that the act was “horrific” and “shameful” and that “this hatred has no place in our community.”
Regional police Chief Bryan Larkin called the act of vandalism “deeply disturbing,” and a “destructive and hateful crime.”
“Places of worship are sacred, and this criminal act cannot and will not be tolerated in Waterloo Region.”
Mubashir noted several people have offered financial support to cover the damages at the mosque.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart and encourage them to make donations to other organizations in greater need, such as our local Cambridge Shelter Corporation, which looks after homeless people in need. The damages faced by the mosque will be covered internally by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community.”
— With files from the Waterloo Region Record.