A Canadian mosque raised thousands of dollars to support a nearby Catholic church after a spate of vandalism.
News of the vandalism soon spread. Hamid Slimi, imam of the Sayeda Khadija Centre in Mississauga visited the St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church to make sense of the crime.
Father Camillo Lando showed Slimi footage of the vandal’s behaviour. According to the Toronto Star, “The guy who did it ripped pages out of the Bible. He broke the altar. He threw the cross,” said Slimi. “When I saw this, I thought it was pure injustice. It was just wrong”.
After recalling the incident at a Friday sermon, Slimi urged others to donate. Within a day, the congregation raised almost $5,000.
CCTV of the first incident captured a man tearing pages from bibles, throwing holy books, and laying a cross upon the floor. Upon leaving, footage captured him taking items.
Days later, a vandal left a statue of Jesus desecrated; the adjoining school spray painted.
Local police soon arrested Iqbal Hessan, 22, and charged him. At a bail hearing, Hessan stated he was ‘upset’ with Christianity.
During the ongoing trial, prosecution told the court that Hessan confessed a desire to ‘hurt’ a priest. Hessan’s father told the court that his son is a diagnosed schizophrenic. That he argued, was the reason for his anger.
Police did not seek a hate crime prosecution due to a lack of ‘evidence’. Yet, many Christians in Lando’s congregation expressed upset; but Lando preached forgiveness.
Other Muslims took the time to call Father Lando and express support.
Hessan’s trial continues.