A 28-year-old man faces numerous charges for a series of allegedly hate-motivated assaults, including an attack at a downtown mosque.
Toronto Police say officers responded to an assault with a weapon at the Toronto Islamic Centre on Yonge St., south of Davenport Rd., around 6:40 a.m. on Saturday.
A man allegedly approached the mosque and “became confrontational” towards several people who were standing outside, police said in a statement released Saturday evening.
“The (man) threw a rock at the victims and yelled derogatory slurs,” she alleged. “He then brandished a bike chain and became extremely aggressive towards the victims.”
Police say one person suffered minor injuries.
Investigators subsequently linked the mosque attack to two other assaults that allegedly occurred hours apart Wednesday morning.
In the first incident, cops allege a man was driving a cab near Front and Yonge Sts. around 4:25 a.m.
The cabbie opened the window of his vehicle and asked a man if he needed a ride.
The man asked the taxi driver if he was Muslim, then sprayed the cabbie in the face with an unknown substance, police allege.
In the second incident, which occurred just before 8 a.m., a woman wearing a hijab was walking on a cycling and pedestrian path in the area of Fort York Blvd. and Spadina Ave. when a man approached her.
The man made “derogatory statements” toward the woman, then sprayed her in the face with an unknown substance and fled the scene, police allege.
The woman was transported to hospital and treated for minor injuries.
Hate Crime Unit investigators subsequently identified a suspect.
Chandler Marshall, of Toronto, has been charged with four counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of assault, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, two counts of mischief, two counts of administering a noxious substance, two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon, two counts of weapons dangerous, and uttering threats.
Late Saturday afternoon, mosque leaders released in a statement saying: “We will not be intimidated.”
“This is not the first time that (Toronto Islamic Centre) has faced Islamophobia,” the statements says. “We previously received threats that someone was coming to commit another Christchurch attack at our centre.”
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While the Toronto Islamic Centre said their first priority is to ensure the ongoing safety of worshippers, they added there needs to be long-term change to fight all forms of hate.
“We would like to encourage even more worshippers to come for Fajr prayers and take a stand against all forms of hate including Islamophobia and antisemitism,” they said.