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utt firebombing

Two suspects have been arrested for a string of hate crimes against the Montreal Jewish community, including the foiled firebombing of the Ben Weider Centre two weeks ago:

Omar Bulphred, 21, and Azim Ibragimov, 23, appeared briefly in Quebec Court on Friday to be arraigned on charges stemming from incidents that began last fall. Both were denied bail.

[ . . . ]

Each man is charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery, conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to forcibly confine someone. Those crimes are alleged to have taken place between March 30 and April 8.

They also face charges of possession of an explosive in connection with the Sept. 2 firebombing of Skver-Toldos Orthodox Jewish Boys School in Outremont.

Each faces one count of damage to property by fire or explosion after a car parked on de l’Authion Ave. in the city’s Mercier district was firebombed Sept. 12.

As well, the two are alleged to have uttered death threats against a member of the Jewish community, and to have threatened to burn, destroy or damage property belonging to the Jewish community.

The most recent attack occurred on April 3, the first day of Passover, when a firebomb exploded at the YM-YWHA Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre, also known as the Snowdon Y. Employees called police at 11:15 p.m. after they heard an explosion at the facility’s main entrance on Westbury Ave. No one was injured and there was no damage to the building.

Not a lot of details are emerging just yet, but the ones that have been published are just plain bizarre – especially the kidnapping conspiracy charges. The two are being brought up on hate charges, and more information is sure to emerge if and when they go to trial.

Bastards. (Or, on advice of my imaginary lawyer, alleged bastards).

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This was not okay. And neither is this:

Students and staff at one of Montreal’s largest Muslim schools expressed shock today after windows in their building were smashed and the school bus was vandalized overnight.

“Parents are very angry and teachers are afraid,” said Principal Sawaf Layla, at École Les jeunes Musulmans canadiens where shards of glass lay in the school’s entrance.

Rocks and bricks crashed through about 15 windows at the school sometime between 9 p.m. Monday night and 5 a.m. Tuesday, police said.

Nobody knows what motivated this attack; unlike the UTT attack there was no note or message left, so it theoretically could have just been a random act of vandalism. But if it turns out this was a hate crime, then whoever was responsible should be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.

Muslim schools, Jewish schools, Christian schools, public schools, it doesn’t matter. All should have one thing in common. No matter your sick, twisted beef with the world, whatever your prejudices or hangups or politics or racist views. No matter what, one message needs to be made perfectly clear:

Kids. Are. Off. Limits.



Another Jewish school firebombing


Just a year and a half after UTT St-Laurent was firebombed, another Jewish school was attacked last Friday night, when someone threw a Molotov cocktail through the window. The Orthodox Jewish boys’ school in Outremont already had enhanced its security, along with the other Jewish schools in the city, after the UTT incident. The attack […]

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Jail time for firebomber


Sleiman El-Merhebi, who was convicted of the firebombing of UTT St-Laurent’s library last April, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison, for a politically-motivated crime that the judge called “terrorism”: Last month, El-Merhebi told the court he was driven to the crime by news of Israeli attacks on Palestinians. The arson “was an emotional […]

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UTT firebombing suspect pleads guilty


The case of the fireboming of the UTT library last April moved a step closer to resolution today, as the chief suspect in the case accepted a guilty plea to arson in exchange for the conspiracy charge being dropped: Mr. Elmerhebi kept his head bowed slightly and his eyes on the floor as the plea […]

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New UTT library opens


The library at UTT St-Laurent, which was firebombed last April, finally reopened today after being completely rebuilt thanks to an outpouring of donations and support: Sympathy messages and donations of $400,000 in cash and thousands books poured in from across Canada and around the world following news of the arson at the private school last […]

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UTT firebombing update


One of the arrested suspects in the April firebombing of Talmud Torah elementary has been released due to “insufficient evidence”: Simon Zogheib, 19, was arrested in connection with the library fire at the United Talmud Torahs School. One of his lawyers, Serge Segal, said the Crown decided not to proceed with the charges because of […]

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Arrival Day


Today is the American Jewish community’s 350th “Arrival Day”, a cultural holiday celebrating the arrival of the first group of Jewish people to North America. Jonathan’s Blogburst on the subject has a number of thought-provoking posts on the theme of the future of the Jewish community in America. So I figured that today would be […]

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3 million dollars


That’s how much extra the Montreal Jewish Community has to raise this year to pay for extra security at local Jewish schools and campuses: Sylvain Abitbol, president of Montreal’s Federation of Jewish Community Services, said the arson attack [at U.T.T.], “combined with the defacing of many of our cemeteries and the rise in anti-Semitism in […]

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No hate crime charges for firebomb suspects


The suspects in the UTT firebombing last Passover will not be charged with a hate crime: Both Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) and B’nai Brith Canada say they will not press for hate crime charges to be added to the counts of arson and conspiracy against two young men in connection with the firebombing of the […]

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