Police in Canada's second largest city, Montreal, Quebec, are investigating an incident of antisemitic vandalism that took place at a small, local home-based synagogue in Côte St-Luc, an on-island Montreal suburb with a large Jewish population, according to Radio Canada on Friday.
B'nai Brith Canada, a watchdog organization that monitors antisemitic activities and attitudes in Canada, said that the incident was “one of the worst such incidents to take place in Canada in years.”
The report noted that vandals damaged Torah scrolls and other religious items, which were stuffed in toilets at the Sepharade Kol Yehouda, an Orthodox Sephardic synagogue.
In addition to defacing to religious items and property damage, antisemitic graffiti was also scrawled on the walls, according to Ralph Amar, a member of the congregation who was the first to discover what took place.
He had gone to the synagogue to gather religious items on Wednesday prior to the holiday of Shavuot, which began on Thursday evening and celebrates Jews receiving the Torah and Ten Commandments.
B’nai Brith Canada said in a statement that “Torah scrolls are considered extremely sacred in Judaism, to the extent that damaged scrolls are typically buried in a cemetery, rather than disposed of in any other manner.”
The League for Human Rights, part of B’nai Brith Canada, recorded 2,207 antisemitic incidents in its 2019 Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. The amount of incidents increased by 8% increase over the 2,041 incidents from the previous year and average more than six per day.