Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Source: Shubham Sharan/Unsplash
Montreal police are investigating after finding bullet holes in the doors of two Jewish schools on Thursday morning.
Located in the Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough of the city, the schools, Talmud Torah and Yeshiva Gedola, are around three kilometres from each other.
According to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, (SPVM), the first impact bullet hole was reported at 8:20 am by staff at the United Talmud Torahs of Montreal Inc on Deacon Road. The facility includes an elementary and high school.
The building was closed at the time the incident is believed to have taken place and no injuries have been reported. SPVM said in a recorded message they will be on-site to conduct an investigation and are reviewing security footage.
At 8:50 the same morning, another bullet hole was found in the door of Yeshiva Gedola and reported by students to police. The shooting is also believed to have taken place overnight.
Yeshiva Gedola includes a daycare, elementary and high school programs, according to its website.
Law enforcement reports no injuries and that a K9 unit is searching the area. No suspects have been named and no arrests have been reported at this time.
Police are unsure if both shootings are related at this time.
“The increasing number of hateful acts against the Jewish community in schools and universities are very worrying,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante wrote on social media. “Fortunately, no one was injured, but this escalation of violence is unbearable and unacceptable.”
“I think of the children, their parents, the teaching staff of these schools. These hateful acts must stop. We denounce them loud and clear.”
Response from public officials at all levels of government to the incident has continued throughout the day.
Anthony Housefather, a member of parliament for Mount Royal, said the shooting fell within his riding, which includes the western section of Côte-des-Neiges.
“I have been in constant touch with Jewish community leadership and met local police this morning,” he wrote on his Twitter profile. “Enhanced security measures were in place & even more now added. No parent or student should ever be put through this.”
Quebec’s Education Minister, Bernard Drainville, added he was “disturbed” to learn of the shooting and that “antisemitism, like any other demonstration of hatred and violence, has no place in our society.”
Quebec Premier François Legault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both spoke out about the shootings during a joint press conference on Thursday. Both condemning the event as “horrible,” Legault asked for calm in the wake of the shooting and rising tensions in the city related to the Israel-Hamas war.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims released a statement over its social media saying that “targeting schools or children, among the most vulnerable people in our communities, is cowardly and appalling” and that “those responsible for this should face the strongest punishments and consequences.”
The latest in a series of antisemitic incidents taking place across the country, this same week a Montreal synagogue and Jewish community centre report having incendiary devices used against the buildings’ entrances during the night.
The devices, described as appearing to be Molotov cocktails, according to the Montreal Gazette, caused some damage to the doors but were used at night when the facilities were closed and no injuries have been reported.
“What has happened today cannot happen again. It must be the last time this happens and we're very proud of the relationship we've had with the SPVM, who have not only answered the call the morning of Oct. 7 in increasing their patrols and visibility in Jewish communities, but are taking this circumstance very, very seriously," Federation CJA President Yair Szlak said during a press conference following the firebombing. "We do hope that other communities in Quebec will stand up to this kind of hate."