There were some reports of societal abuse and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, but prominent societal leaders took positive steps to promote religious freedom.
In January hooligans attacked a mosque in Gatineau, Quebec, and spray-painted anti-Islamic graffiti on the building’s exterior. Subsequently, hooligans broke mosque windows and attempted to set alight vehicles parked on the property. Gatineau police opened a hate crime investigation that remained pending at the end of the year. Security improvements the mosque implemented with a 2010 C$30,000 ($30,030) grant under the federal Security Infrastructure Program allowed it to provide police with surveillance videos of the incidents.
In November, York regional police declined to press criminal charges against a Toronto madrassah whose online teaching materials disparaged Jews and referred to “Jewish plots and treacheries.” A police investigation concluded that the school’s curriculum “suggested intolerance,” but that there was no conclusive proof that the texts qualified as hate propaganda under the law. The madrassah removed the material from its website.
The B’nai Brith Canada League for Human Rights received 1,297 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in 2011, the most recent year for which data was available, down 1 percent from 2010. More than half of such reports came from Ontario. The reports included 916 cases of harassment, 362 cases of vandalism, and 19 cases of violence. There were 47 cases involving attacks on synagogues, 146 involving private homes, and 46 involving community centers. Jewish students reported 113 cases of anti-Semitic incidents on university campuses, compared with 86 in 2010; another 89 involved primary and secondary school settings, compared with 84 in 2010. B’nai Brith also received 528 reports of Web-based hate activity, compared with 564 in 2010.
According to an American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise study released in October, 97 percent of U.S. and Canadian college campuses reported no anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic events. Two groups, the Muslim Students Association and Students for Justice in Palestine, were responsible for most of the recorded events. Nevertheless, a recent Institute for Jewish and Community Research survey found that 43 percent of Jewish students saw anti-Semitism as a problem.
On October 18, two masked men smashed windows and threw a fire bomb into a kosher restaurant in Montreal. It was part of a wave of attacks in the city, including burglaries in synagogues and churches, that authorities believed were linked to organized crime.
The case against a Manitoba teen who allegedly set the hair of a Jewish classmate alight while uttering anti-Semitic slurs remained pending at the end of the year.
Police investigation of the vandalism of five synagogues and a Jewish school in Montreal in 2011 continued with no known developments.