Surrey Mounties say an incident April 27 outside a Surrey mosque in which Muslim teens are accused of chucking water from a car at three Muslim pedestrians was no racially motivated hate crime.
This happened outside the Surrey Jamea Masjid, at 12407 72 Ave., at about 11 p.m.
“The investigation found that this was not a racially-motivated hate crime,” Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn said. “All occupants of the suspect vehicle were teenagers who are part of the Muslim community.”
Three people were walking near the mosque when the water was thrown at them. Police say they also received a report that the same vehicle “left the roadway and almost struck one of the pedestrians.”
“I believe one person was hit with water,” Munn told the Now-Leader.
So what was the motive?
“We are not going to be releasing further details other than the fact that it was determined that it was not hate or racially motivated in any way,” Munn replied. “They were youths that were involved, they were teenagers, if that gives any context at all.”
“The parties are not believed to be known to each other prior to this incident,” she said. “We’re working with the community as well as the victims and the suspects involved and we are considering extra-judicial measures such as a restorative justice approach. It would allow all parties to come together to really express the impact this incident had on them as well as the greater community.”
In the wake of the incident, the BC Muslim Association indicated it was “gravely concerned.” A tweet by the association said it happened as Ramadan worshipers were leaving their evening prayer. “The car sped away, but then returned and repeatedly feigned to run them over.”
It made national news and drew condemnation from John Aldag, Liberal MP for Cloverdale-Langley City, as well as Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
“We must stand up against all forms of Islamaphobia and prosecute those who commit hate crimes,” Aldag said in a prepared statement. “I will continue to work with local religious leaders and all levels of government to ensure they have sufficient protections against such hate and there are sufficient punishments for those who commit hateful acts.”
McCallum said in a statement issued by the City of Surrey that “on behalf of council, I want the members who were affected by this incident to know that we stand with them and condemn all acts of hate in our community.”
Munn noted Monday that the Surrey RCMP initially said “that we were investigating the possibility that it could be hate-motivated but that we had not determined what the motive was, that that would require further investigation.”
In a subsequent press release, Assistant Comm. Brian Edwards, officer in charge of the RCMP, said “once it was discovered that the nature of the incident was not hate motivated, it was important for us to update the public.”