Three of the university’s downtown buildings were evacuated on March 1 after the university received a letter threatening to detonate bombs that would harm Muslims.
The Jewish organizations expressed solidarity with the Muslim community and underlined the necessity of speaking out against threats of violence against any group.
Police found nothing suspicious but investigated the source of the letter, which was also sent to several local media outlets by the “underground” Concordia chapter of the “Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada.” The logo is a cross and a Star of David, with the asterisked “not associated with the Conservative Party of Canada.”
A 47-year-old man was arrested in a Darlington Avenue apartment in Côte des Neiges overnight, after police traced the emailed letters to his computer.
Hisham Saadi appeared in court on March 2 and was charged with inciting fear of terrorist activities, death threats, and public mischief.
The letter complained about Friday prayers on the campus where there are “often anti-Christian and anti-Jewish speeches,” and demands that Concordia ban “all Moslem activities” at the university. There are designated Muslim prayer spaces on the campus.
If this was not done, the letter warned that between March 1 at noon and March 3 at 2 p.m., “we will DETONATE once per day small artisanal explosive devices that we planted on 2 floors of the H [Hall] bldg and 1 floor of the EV [Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts] bldg where Moslems hang out… The only aim is to injure some Moslem students.”
In a joint statement, federation president Evan Feldman said, “The Jewish community of Montreal unequivocally condemns this threat and stands in solidarity with Muslim fellow citizens. We cannot allow the peace of our communities to be disrupted by threats of violence.”
“The wounds of Quebec City have yet to be healed, and this morning’s threat reminds us that the pathology of hate persists,” CIJA Quebec co-chair Rabbi Reuben Poupko said in the statement. “Threats of violence from any quarter against any group need to be taken with the utmost seriousness and must be rejected in the strongest terms possible.”
Federation chief executive officer Deborah Corber added, “An attack on any community is an attack on all Quebecers. Threats were made today against Muslim fellow citizens, and the Jewish community stands together with them against this call to violence.”
“A threat against any group, be it based on ethnicity, religion or race, must be condemned in the strongest terms. We know all too well the price of standing by, and as Jews, we cannot and will not stand in silence when others are targeted,” further stated CIJA Quebec vice-president Eta Yudin.