Faith Leaders Meet to Condemn Hate Crimes

April 16, 2004

Source: Toronto Star

On April 16, 2004 the Toronto Star reported, "A shared driveway between a mosque and a synagogue in Thornhill is a symbol of the solidarity among religious groups in Toronto, faith leaders heard yesterday. 'This driveway is really a metaphor and message of a shared commitment by both the Muslims and Jews, and a shared commitment by all the religious faiths represented today,' Irwin Cotler, federal justice minister and attorney-general, said yesterday after a meeting with religious leaders. The connection between Thornhill's Temple Har Zion and Ja'ffari Islamic Centre, which have been neighbours for more than three decades, also symbolizes the community's determination to combat recent hate crimes, Cotler said...The 40-minute meeting with leaders of eight religious groups (Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Catholic, Anglican and Zoroastrian) representing 18 congregations comes after a string of recent hate crimes in Canada, including arson at Pickering's Al-Mahdi Islamic Centre and the firebombing of a United Talmud Torahs school in Montreal. Although the meeting did not result in a concrete action plan, Cotler, a graduate of the Montreal school, said the 'unequivocal condemnation' against hate crimes is significant. 'We will not be silenced. We will speak. We will act and there will be no refuge for hate, no sanctuary for bigotry in this country,' he said."