Ottawa Man Arrested for Alleged Hate Speech and Antisemitism

An Ottawa man was arrested near Toronto this weekend after he was allegedly caught on video inciting hatred and expressing antisemitic views. A close-up of an Ottawa Police officer’s badge is seen on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

An Ottawa man, Mohammed Assadi, was arrested this weekend near Toronto following allegations of inciting hatred and expressing antisemitic views in a video. The Ottawa Police Service has charged Assadi with several breaches of bail conditions and is coordinating efforts with Toronto’s hate crime unit as part of the investigation.

The case has garnered attention due to its sensitive nature, with both Toronto and Ottawa police hate-crimes units collaborating closely. Crown attorney Moiz Karimjee emphasized the significance of this arrest in a virtual court appearance, stating, “It is important that the public and victims of antisemitism have confidence in the administration of justice and the rule of law.”

Assadi, who appeared virtually in an Ottawa courtroom on Sunday, is currently awaiting a schedule for his bail hearing. The arrest comes amid a broader context of rising concerns over hate-motivated crimes in Canada, especially in the wake of the conflict between Israel and Hamas that started on October 7.

Several Canadian police services, including those in Ottawa and Toronto, have reported a spike in incidents, ranging from graffiti and vandalism to hate mail and threats, predominantly targeting Jewish and Muslim communities. In response to this alarming trend, the Toronto Police Service has expanded its hate crime unit.

The gravity of the situation was further highlighted by recent events in Montreal, where Mayor Valérie Plante confirmed police investigations into gunshots fired at a Jewish school, marking the second such incident in a short span. The school was one of two that were targeted in overnight shootings just days prior.

In addition to the current charges, Assadi faces outstanding accusations, including assault and breaking and entering, yet to be tested in court. His legal representation was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.

The community and authorities alike await further developments as Assadi is expected to appear in court on November 14, with the public and victims of hate crimes looking to the justice system for reassurance and action.