Congregation Shaar Hashomayim vandalized with swastikas

The vandalism at the Shaar Hashomayim.

Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount was vandalized Wednesday with Nazi swastikas.

A 28-year-old man, who had a gas canister with him, was seen and apprehended by synagogue security guards and arrested by police. Adam Riga, reported as being a St. Laurent resident, appeared in court Thursday and was charged with possessing explosive material to commit a criminal act.

Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs MP Marc Miller condemned the attack. "The desecration of Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim with the most vile and abhorrent symbol of evil and hate is an utter disgrace," he wrote on Twitter. "I ask all Canadians to stand with Shaar Hashomayin and members of the Jewish faith as we condemn this act that has no place in this country!"

Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather also condemned the attack."This is a disgraceful anti-Semitic act." he wrote. "Let’s join together as a Montreal, Quebec and Canadian community to denounce it and stand with Shaar Hashomayim members and the Jewish community."

"The Jewish community is outraged by today’s vile assault on Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount," says a statement from Federation CJA. "This attack targets the entire community and all those who embrace civility and tolerance."

Richard Marceau, the former BQ MP who converted to Judaism in 2004, reacted as well. "My friend Rabbi Adam Scheier's synagogue was vandalized today," he wrote. "When I am in Montreal for Shabbat, this is usually where I go to pray. Think of the message sent to the entire Jewish community, to see Nazi symbols on a house of worship."

“This incident is another jarring reminder of the constant need for vigilance in protecting our Jewish communal institutions,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “Antisemitism can rear its ugly head anywhere and any time, and we must always do our part to combat it when it does.”

“B’nai Brith will be following up with the Montreal Hate Crimes Unit and those affected, to do whatever we can to ensure that justice is served in this case,” said Harvey Levine, B’nai Brith’s Quebec Regional Director.

Westmount Mayor Christina Smith commented that "all of us on City Council and all Westmounters were shocked and outraged to learn that an act against the Jewish community took place this afternoon at the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim. This is a symbol of hatred, which has no place in this or any other community.

"This anti-Semitic act is against our fundamental values and beliefs. We are an inclusive and tolerant city and we are proud of that. On behalf of the City of Westmount, I want to assure members of the congregation and the entire Jewish community that we are committed to working with them to combat hatred and to build bridges of understanding and solidarity between neighbours of all backgrounds."

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