Hamilton, Ont., Police have arrested three men for alleged hate crimes committed in the days after 9/11.
On Sept. 15, 2001, the large front window of the Hamilton Mountain Mosque was damaged and the entire interior of the Hindu Samaj Temple was gutted in an arson.
Police said the case will be presented as a hate crime, given that the alleged offences took place only four days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the U.S.
About $5,000 in damage was caused to the window of the mosque on Stone Church Rd. E., before an “accelerant” was used to set fire to the front doors of the Hindu temple located a short distance away on Twenty Rd. E. near Miles Rd.
The damage to the temple came in at around $500,000. The fire completely gutted the inside, leaving only the temple’s brick and cinder block exterior standing, Det. Dave Oleniuk said.
Oleniuk wouldn’t discuss what was used to start the blaze at the Hindu temple, or the motivation behind the two crimes. However, according to the police statement, new information had recently come in from the public on the case and investigators had spoken with witnesses.
“Over the years, as they went by, there was a sense of frustration that we hadn’t heard anything from Hamilton Police … today, that frustration was relieved,” Taher Ghouse of the Muslim Association of Hamilton said. “It was painful being a Muslim in those times because everything was being assigned to Muslims.”
Christopher Pollard, 33, Scott Ryan, 33, and Damien Marsh, 34, were arrested Tuesday and charged with arson to property, possession of incendiary material and mischief under $5,000. All three appeared in court Wednesday and were released on bail with conditions, Oleniuk said.
Police are still looking for more witnesses to come forward.