London police: Porch arson was motivated by hatred, residence has been targeted many times before |

A fire that broke out on the front porch of a home in London, Ontario over the weekend is believed by police to be hate-fueled and the latest in a series of incidents targeting the family.

Police said a man walked to the Wateroak Drive home around 9:30 Saturday night and “took away some items he had taken from the front yard.” About an hour later, police believe the same man returned and set a fire on the porch before running away.

Emergency responders arrived about 10 minutes later and put out the fire. No injuries were reported, but damage was estimated at $30,000.

According to Detective Sergeant Alex Krigsman, the home in an affluent area of ​​north-west London had been the target of “a number of other incidents” since the beginning of May.

The incidents involved “property damage, signs being stolen, threatening notes being left, culminating in the events of (Saturday) night. The signs were a symbol of support for Palestine,” Krigsman added.

Story continues below ad

Nawaz Tahir, a local lawyer and board member of Muslim advocacy group Hikma, claimed that “Our London Family” signs were also taken down. Following the June 2021 protests, the “Our London Family” movement was formed to support the Afzaal family and London's Muslim community Terrorist attacks A young man driving a truck deliberately ran over a family, leaving a little boy seriously injured and his parents, sister and grandmother dead.

Tahir also said that he had warned his family “not to post (the slogans) again.”

Hikma said it had been in contact with residents of the Wateroak Drive address. Tahir said on Monday Hikma members were “extremely concerned for their safety and the safety of their neighbours”.

Story continues below ad

However, Tahir expressed gratitude to the police for taking the matter so seriously.

In the surveillance photo, a man was wearing a mask and dark clothes.

London police have released an image of a suspect wanted in connection with a hate arson attack.

By London Police

Police released a photo of the arson suspect and described him as a man between 30 and 50 years old, with a medium to stocky build, wearing grey shoes, dark pants, a light grey zip-up sweater with vertical black trim on the sides under the arms, a dark skullcap and a medical mask.

“I want to be very clear that this is a top priority for the Metropolitan Police. Members of our uniformed division, criminal investigations (and) community services were involved in the response and investigation of this matter,” Krigsman said Sunday.

“I can also tell you that our chief has been in full communication with the mayor and city council members since this morning.”

Story continues below ad

Krigsman also thanked several neighbors who “offered assistance to the homeowner” and “community members who really supported the London Police Department during the investigation.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also addressed the incident on Twitter, expressing his deepest sympathy for the victims' families and saying, “Canadians have seen how dangerous and ugly Islamophobia can be. We must continue to fight it – wherever and whenever we see it.”

Neither police nor Tahir confirmed whether the family was Muslim, saying only that they had expressed support for “our London family” and Palestine through lawn signs.

Hate crime reportedly on the rise in London Data released by the police last monthPolice said crimes motivated by hate or bias increased nearly 40% in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Story continues below ad

More than a quarter of hate crimes reported in 2023 were directed at members of the LGBTQ2 community, although London’s Muslim and Jewish communities both saw sharp increases in the number of hate crimes reported.

In both cases, the number of reported incidents rose sharply after the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023.

— Attached is Ben Harrietha of Global News

© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

উৎস লিঙ্ক