Torontos Jewish community shaken after alleged attack on teens

Toronto\s Jewish community shaken after alleged attack on teens
WARMINGTON: Trudeau silent about attack on Jewish teens
Toronto Police have confirmed that the attack on four Jewish teenagers in north Toronto on Sunday evening was motivated by hate.

“On Sunday, Nov. 11th, shortly after 8 p.m., four young men were walking in this area near Bathurst and Lawrence,” said Police Chief Mark Saunders, speaking Tuesday from the scene of the crime. “The Toronto Police Service has now determined that this was, in fact, a hate crime.”

The four teenagers were walking in the area of Fairholme Ave. and Bathurst St., one block south of Lawrence Ave. W., when a group of approximately nine other teenagers passed them, police say.

They made derogatory comments about the Jewish boys’ religion and the religious garments they were wearing, before assaulting two of the 17-year-old boys. Police said they were “punching and kicking them.”

A robbery and hate crime investigation was launched after the assault. One 17-year-old suspect was arrested at the scene, but Saunders says they “know that there are more outstanding,” and that the police are going to “unturn every stone,” to find them.

“A hate crime is one that we will never normalize in this city,” Saunders said. “And I want to reassure the public that we will do anything and everything to conclude this investigation.”

Noah Shack, the vice-president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in the GTA put out a statement saying that they were “deeply disturbed” by the incident, and that “Jewish Canadians should never fear wearing their Kippah in public.”

Mayor John Tory echoed the call for witnesses and information on Twitter, writing that “no one should ever be attacked for their religion.”

“The rise in the frequency of anti-Semitic acts is alarming,” Roman Baber, MPP for the area of York Centre, said in a statement posted on social media. “Anti-Semitic acts of violence or any acts motivated by hate have no place in Ontario.”

Premier Doug Ford and federal opposition leader Andrew Scheer also tweeted about the incident, Scheer calling it “troubling” and Ford asserting that his “government will not tolerate hatred of any kind.”

Anyone who believes they may have information about the incident is asked to contact police or CrimeStoppers.

Toronto Police have confirmed that the attack on four Jewish teenagers in north Toronto on Sunday evening was motivated by hate.

“On Sunday, Nov. 11th, shortly after 8 p.m., four young men were walking in this area near Bathurst and Lawrence,” said Police Chief Mark Saunders, speaking Tuesday from the scene of the crime. “The Toronto Police Service has now determined that this was, in fact, a hate crime.”

The four teenagers were walking in the area of Fairholme Ave. and Bathurst St., one block south of Lawrence Ave. W., when a group of approximately nine other teenagers passed them, police say.

They made derogatory comments about the Jewish boys’ religion and the religious garments they were wearing, before assaulting two of the 17-year-old boys. Police said they were “punching and kicking them.”

A robbery and hate crime investigation was launched after the assault. One 17-year-old suspect was arrested at the scene, but Saunders says they “know that there are more outstanding,” and that the police are going to “unturn every stone,” to find them.

“A hate crime is one that we will never normalize in this city,” Saunders said. “And I want to reassure the public that we will do anything and everything to conclude this investigation.”

Noah Shack, the vice-president of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in the GTA put out a statement saying that they were “deeply disturbed” by the incident, and that “Jewish Canadians should never fear wearing their Kippah in public.”

Mayor John Tory echoed the call for witnesses and information on Twitter, writing that “no one should ever be attacked for their religion.”

“The rise in the frequency of anti-Semitic acts is alarming,” Roman Baber, MPP for the area of York Centre, said in a statement posted on social media. “Anti-Semitic acts of violence or any acts motivated by hate have no place in Ontario.”

Premier Doug Ford and federal opposition leader Andrew Scheer also tweeted about the incident, Scheer calling it “troubling” and Ford asserting that his “government will not tolerate hatred of any kind.”

Anyone who believes they may have information about the incident is asked to contact police or CrimeStoppers.

As Toronto's Jewish community reels after an alleged attack on a group of Jewish teenagers in the city's north end Sunday night, an alleged victim says he is not afraid or discouraged. 

The boy says he was brought to the ground and beaten up in Sunday's incident and that his glasses were taken and broken. CBC Toronto is not naming the alleged victim to protect his identity as he is underage. 

He claims he was among the four 17-year-old boys who were targeted by another group of teenagers who began to make fun of them for wearing yarmulkes in the Bathurst Street and Lawrence Avenue West area.

The boy says he came to Canada from Santa Monica, Calif., to study to become a rabbi and tells CBC Toronto he hasn't experienced anything like what happened on Sunday night before.

"It was a very big shock to me," he said. "When I came to Canada, I heard that Canada was not anything like that, especially the city of Toronto.

"Jews went through this all our entire history. That's what we've gone through. And we're here still to talk about it," he added. "I'm not afraid, so I think people should just know that."

Two of the four teens were beaten and one of them robbed, police say. Officers are investigating the incident as a hate crime and have arrested a 17-year-old boy.

Police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the alleged assault in a video statement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

"I want to reassure the public that we will un-turn every stone to locate and apprehend every person that is a suspect to this investigation," Saunders said. 

"A hate crime is one that we will never normalize in this city, and I want to reassure the public that we would do anything and everything to conclude this investigation."

While shaken up, some in the community have expressed relief that the incident wasn't any worse.

"They knew how to fend them off and wave down some support and get someone to help them out," said Rabbi Mendy Lieberman, who is a teacher at Yeshivas Lubavitch Toronto.

"Our message is that obviously we grow from these situations and we only try to increase the message of love, the message of light and positivity and peace."

We have all the right to be who we are.- Barbara Ouanounou of Eitz Chaim Schools Barbara Ouanounou, principal of general studies of Eitz Chaim Schools' Patricia Campus, said she took the alleged attack on a personal level, adding that her parents were Holocaust survivors.

"No matter what, we have all the right to be who we are and free to practise our religion," she said. "No one could take that away from us."

The incident also brought up a lot of emotion for those at the school, and on Tuesday the school held an anti-Semitism presentation.

The students, pre-teen and teen boys like the four who were allegedly beaten and kicked Sunday, were tasked with learning about children who died in the Holocaust.

Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz, the dean of Eitz Chaim Schools, told CBC Toronto that while society has come a long way since the Holocaust, there are still lessons that apply today.

"They can see the courage and the support that we get from the surrounding community in a way that we did not have in Europe in the 1940s," he said.

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