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More antisemitism

This is truly sick and disgusting. Someone set fire to the library of U.T.T. St-Laurent, one of the major Jewish elementary schools here in Montreal and the feeder school of my (attached) high school. Not incidentally, it, along with my high school, was also the target of antisemitic vandalism last May. But the sheer hate required to set fire to a library of an elementary school is mind-boggling. Thank G-d there were no children there at the time, and nobody got hurt:

United Talmud Torah School in St. Laurent was the target of an anti-Semitic attack Monday morning as the building was set on fire.

No one was hurt in the blaze that occurred at about 2:30 a.m. The extent of the damage is not known at this time, but it seems to have been limited to the school’s library. The school is located on de l’Eglise St.

Investigators found letters at the scene that were described as anti-Jewish hate messages. They also found signs of accelerants indicating the fire was deliberately set.

I’m truly horrified. I remember we used to have practice drills in grade school and high school, both for standard fires and for “security incidents”. It seemed normal that we had closed-circuit cameras in high school… we saw them as a tool to apprehend students skipping class, not antisemites with agendas. We truly, naively believed that the stories they taught us in Jewish history classes about hatred against Jews were just that – chapters in history books. It never occurred to us that our school was anything but safe.

I feel bad for the students who will have to face the fact that someone set fire to their school. No elementary school child should have that illusion of safety shattered.

Update: RDI has more, including the reaction of Jean Charest:

“De tels gestes sont intolérables, écrit M. Charest, incendier une école est déjà un acte vil, mais quand cela est fait au nom du racime ou de l’intolérance, chaque Québécois doit se lever et le dénoncer afin que cela ne se reproduise plus.”

Strong words from the Premier’s office. But unfortunately, this kind of hate has already recurred far too many times. And I fear it won’t be the last.

This hits way too close to home.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • DaninVan 04.06.04, 1:18 AM

    Charest only made the speech in French?

  • Jonny 04.06.04, 1:46 AM

    Mummy, whats the bomb squad doing at Sunday school?

  • segacs 04.06.04, 4:12 AM

    Dan, he might have made it in English too. I just got the link from RDI, where it was in French.

    My on-the-fly translation:

    These actions are intolerable. Setting fire to a school is in itself a vile act, but when it is done in the name of racism or intolerance, every Quebecker must rise up to denounce it in order to ensure that it will never recur.

  • Malia 04.06.04, 5:33 AM

    I’m sure it was Chinese Buddhists behind this violent incident. They are constantly bombing and killing non-Buddhists around the world especially the Jews. So I don’t want anyone blaming the Arab/Muslims who just want peace and harmony. And if you do you are a racist!

  • DaninVan 04.06.04, 5:29 AM

    Muchas gracias Senorita Sari!

  • DaninVan 04.06.04, 6:44 AM

    Weeell…there are those Aryan Supremist White Power chaps, and then there’s those nasty 14, 15, 16, year old little pukes with too much spare time and not enough intelligence. The usual suspects.

  • Albert Law 04.06.04, 7:15 PM


    As Dan says, Muslims, neo-Nazis and the 14 year old little pukes are the usual suspects and it makes sense to start the investigation with those groups first.

    What would be racist, on the other hand, it to blame Muslims as a whole, that is 1 000 000 000 + people or Arabs as a whole, that is 200 000 000+ people for that crime.

    If you want the Canadian numbers it’s 580K for Muslims. I don’t know about Arabs.

  • Hanthala 04.06.04, 8:43 PM

    Albert: According to stats can (http://www.statcan.ca/english/Pgdb/demo18a.htm), the number of people whose mother tongue is Arabic in Canada is roughly 200, 000. That’s pretty much how I define “Arab,” but I know some will grumble.

  • Malia 04.06.04, 10:28 PM

    I agree with you Albert! Arab/Muslims never blow up buses or commuter trains. All they want is peace especially with their Jewish neighbors. They are the most peaceful loving people around who always respect women and other non-Muslims.

  • Albert Law 04.06.04, 11:39 PM


    A bit of a straw man, no?

    I never said that no Arabs and no Muslims have ever blown up commuter trains and buses. When you blame The Muslims, you are talking about all Muslims, same for The Arabs. Hence, you shouldn’t blame the Muslims or the Arabs as a whole but the individuals who did it.

    If you think Arabs and Muslims have a collective responsability, are you in favour of punishing Muslim Indonesians for what Hamas does? They’re Muslims and you want to blame the Muslims.

    You still haven’t answered my two questions.

  • Albert Law 04.06.04, 11:42 PM

    Forget the last remark, I see you did answer them.

  • DaninVan 04.07.04, 4:35 AM

    Ok, What we have here is the Baker St. Irregulars. Let’s start with who DIDN’T do it. First, anybody that wasn’t within say a 45 min. drive from the school. Second, anybody that by conviction is opposed to violence and criminality. Third, and this one’s a gut feeling, anybody that’s a committed Christian; I can’t see a devout Catholic, for instance, deliberately defiling a ‘House of God’. Not logical. So, who’s left?
    Hanthala didn’t do it, it’s against her principles…

  • Albert Law 04.07.04, 11:01 PM


    It wasn’t a house of god, it was a religious school.

    “I can’t see a devout Catholic, for instance, deliberately defiling a ‘House of God’.”

    Don’t know about pious Catholics, but some pious Protestants have been known to burn even other Protestant churches. Heard of the Klan?

    As for Christians in general not damaging/destroying important Jewish buildings, well, I’m not sure progroms were all that soft on the local shul, even if they were done by very pious Christians.

  • DaninVan 04.09.04, 3:31 AM

    (* uh, oh; I’ve woken Albert up…*)

    Ok, valid critisism. But let’s wait till the ‘votes are in’. The school doesn’t have a chapel? My old Talmud Torah certainly did.

  • segacs 04.09.04, 4:32 AM

    Honestly, I can’t remember about the elementary side. When I was at Herz there, we had a sort of makeshift chapel that was in an empty classroom in the basement, next to the cafeteria. It wasn’t much, but one of the Torah teachers used to bribe all the guys with extra credit if they’d show up for early morning minyans.

  • Malia 04.10.04, 12:20 AM

    Albert, I was just pointing out who the obvious suspects were. Generally it’s not a good idea to stereotype but you know clearly well that it is mainly the Muslims who are engaged in bombings and attacking Jewish targets around the world. I’m sorry if you are Arab/Muslim but that is the truth.

  • Albert Law 04.10.04, 3:12 PM


    Bullshit. You said the Arabs and the Muslims should be blamed. If what you meant was that the most likely suspects were Arabs or Muslims ( with which I agree ), you could have said so in a way that didn’t paint all Muslims and Arabs as being guilty. You chose to say “The Arabs” and “The Muslims”, which includes them all.

    I am not Arab and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a mosque.

  • DaninVan 04.10.04, 5:18 PM

    …or a burqa !

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