Toronto Man Charged in Series of Hate-Motivated Assaults, Including Attack on Mosque Worshippers

Police responded around 6:40 a.m. ET to reports of an assault with a weapon outside the Toronto Islamic Centre near Yonge Street and Davenport Road.

A 28-year-old Toronto man, identified as Chandler Marshall, has been charged with a series of hate-motivated assaults, including an attack on worshippers outside the Toronto Islamic Centre, and assaults on a taxi driver and a woman wearing a hijab.

Assault at Toronto Islamic Centre

In the early hours of Saturday, police responded to the Toronto Islamic Centre near Yonge Street and Davenport Road. Marshall allegedly confronted several people outside the mosque, threw a rock at them, and attacked them with a bike chain while yelling slurs. One individual sustained minor injuries. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) reported the assailant also attempted to vandalize the mosque, uttering Islamophobic slurs and threats.

Toronto Islamic Center (TIC)

Previous Incidents

This incident follows two other assaults earlier in the week. A cab driver near Front Street and Yonge Street was sprayed in the face with an unknown substance after the attacker inquired if he was Muslim. Later, a woman wearing a hijab near Fort York Boulevard and Spadina Avenue was similarly assaulted and faced derogatory statements.

Charges Laid

Marshall faces multiple charges, including four counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of assault, two counts of carrying a concealed weapon, and more. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Community Reaction

The Toronto Islamic Centre, in a statement, emphasized the need for long-term change to combat all forms of hate, including Islamophobia. Uthman Quick, director of communications at NCCM, expressed concern over the rising incidents of hate crimes in the city, calling for an end to such violence.

In response to the war between Israel and Hamas, Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw says the service is ramping up patrols at cultural centres, places of worship and schools across the city although there are currently “no credible threats.” Police are also launching two command posts where officers can be “easily reached.”

Broader Context

This string of incidents comes amid a reported rise in hate crimes in Toronto. Police noted an increase in both antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents in recent weeks.

Mayor’s Statement

In a post about the attack, Mayor Olivia Chow condemned Islamophobia and violence, affirming they are unacceptable in Toronto.

Police Statement

Toronto police, in their statement, highlighted their commitment to investigating and addressing hate crimes, underscoring the importance of community safety and inclusion.