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Toronto Muslims want mosque attacks investigated as hate related | News



Toronto, Canada – The mosque in downtown Toronto that Hassam Munir, 25, visits weekly has been attacked by vandals numerous times in the past three months, most recently on Sunday, when its windows were found smashed again.

Although arrests have been made over the repeated attacks at the Masjid Toronto, which is part of the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC), Munir says he is still deeply concerned.

“It seems to be that someone is trying to intimidate the Muslim community. This is unacceptable,” Munir told Al Jazeera.

“I am worried, not only for those that work and pray here but also for what these kind of attacks tell us about the ignorance and hate that exists in our society.

“No Canadian should feel unsafe in their place of worship,” said Munir, who also works for the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research, which aims to break down Islamophobic narratives.

This week, the Masjid Toronto found its window broken for the third time in three weeks, making the incident – along with vandalism to another MAC mosque also located downtown – the sixth time local mosques have been attacked in three months.

In addition to the broken windows, there have been attempts to break into the mosques, and racist graffiti has been scrawled on the walls and windows, according to MAC.

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“These incidents are now occurring at a frightening rate and we cannot accept to wait any longer for police action,” MAC said in a statement published on Sunday.

It added that local authorities should step up and offer the needed protection, noting that the attacks are meant to intimidate the Muslim community.

‘Mischief’ or hate?

In an emailed statement to Al Jazeera, Toronto Police said they are “aware of several reports of mischief and damage since June 1” at the two mosques.

“Currently there are six investigations and two arrests have been made so far,” the statement said.

“Our Hate Crime Unit has been made aware of the incidents and continue[s] to support the investigations as needed,” the police said, adding they will continue to work with members of the mosque.

But while arrests have been made in the last two instances, Mariam Manaa, MAC public relations manager, told Al Jazeera that MAC would like the case to be considered not as mischief, but as possibly hate related.

“[The case] was under mischief, not under vandalism or intention to hurt or hate,” Manaa told Al Jazeera, noting that the first four attacks have still not been solved to date.

“The issue with that is that within three to four days, they’ll be released again if they were apprehended and they can come back and again vandalise the mosque.

“We want further investigations and want police to take further action. We don’t want this to reoccur,” Manaa said.

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‘No clear plan’

Mustafa Farooq, CEO of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), told Al Jazeera that the response by the Toronto Police Service (TPS) has so far been “insufficient” as there has been “no clear plan as to how these attacks will be prevented”.

“TPS has already ruled out hate as a motivation just days after the first arrest, and the attacks are continuing,” Farooq said.

“To us, six attacks in such a short period of time suggests a systematic pattern which is concerning and deserves further investigation.

“We’re urging TPS to fully investigate this as a potentially hate-motivated string of attacks and secondarily, to provide a clear plan so that no more attacks happen in downtown Toronto’s lot.”

According to MAC, the Masjid Toronto is one of the most-visited mosques in the greater Toronto area. Manaa said MAC is concerned for the safety of both congregates and pedestrians as well.

“It’s a very busy street,” Manaa said. “So I imagine throwing a brick into glass on a prominent street … other folks could be hurt.”

‘Eradication of Muslims’

While there has been no conclusion about who or what is behind what has happened at Masjid Toronto, instances of Islamophobia have occured elsewhere in Canada.

In April during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a man drove to Al Rashid Mosque, the largest mosque in Edmonton, Alberta, surveilled worshippers and threatened to start a “Ramadan Bombathon” in a video while staking out the premises.

More than two weeks after his videos were posted to social media, the NCCM noted that the Edmonton Police Service had not charged him.

Last month, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) charged a Quebec man with advocating genocide – a first in the province’s history – after he allegedly published “disturbing online posts”.

Investigators found around 100 hate posts or threats inciting violence.

“The accused called for the death of [Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau and encouraged the eradication of Muslims,” the RCMP said in a statement.

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema



When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.


Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded




The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19




Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  

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