COLD LAKE — A mosque in northeastern Alberta was being cleaned up after a brick was thrown through its windows and a “go home” message was painted on the wall.
Mahmoud Elkabri, a mosque board member, said he noticed the vandalism when he went to open the doors for prayers early Friday morning.
He said his family has lived in Cold Lake since 1996 and has always felt welcome.
“You see a message ’go home’ — I just want to let everybody know, this is our home,” Elkabri said.
“My kids saw it and they started crying and I said: ‘Why are you crying?’ They said: ’We were born here and raised here and this is our home.”’
Cold Lake is home to a large military base where six Canadian CF-18 fighter jets departed Tuesday to join the international mission combating Islamic extremists in Iraq.
Elkabri believes the vandals could be from outside the community and doesn’t think the act is connected to any anti-Muslim sentiment following attacks on soldiers in Ottawa and Quebec.
“I am very sure whoever did this could be just a drunk random person at nighttime or it could be … someone not from Cold Lake,” he said. “We are very well acquainted in the community of Cold Lake.”
Elkabri said the mosque has been open for four years at its current location and has been targeted before, but that was part of vandalism done to several businesses in the area.
RCMP Sgt. Josee Valiquette said police are not investigating the case as a hate crime at this point.
“We go where the facts take us. It’s a vandalism at this point,” she said. “It could be anybody for a motive or no motive at all.”