Montreal's police arrested a man Wednesday, who is suspected of vandalizing the city’s largest synagogue, favored by the late singer Leonard Cohen.
Local police arrested a 28-year-old man who was caught defacing the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue with swastikas and planning to set the temple on fire. The suspect appears to suffer from mental health issues and is set to appear before a judge sometime on Thursday.
The suspect was reportedly arrested after being held by the synagogue’s guards, one of whom noticed the man spray-painting Nazi symbols on the doors and carrying a container of gasoline.
Shaar Hashomayim’s rabbi, Adam Scheier, said he saw the suspect shortly after his arrest.
“When I arrived at the synagogue, the man was already in the [police] car," said Scheier. "I checked the security cameras and saw that the man had put down the gas tank in order to spray over the synagogue's doors. Fortunately, that was the only thing he managed to do."
"No one is surprised by another anti-Semitic attack on one of our community's beloved institutions," added Scheier. "It's a sense of vulnerability and fear. But it's important for me to make it clear that we have received support from the community and clerics from all religions."
The Jewish community in Canada strongly condemned the act. "This attack is aimed at the whole community, and at those who adopt the values of tolerance,” said the statement released by Jewish Federations of Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also condemned the attack on his Twitter page.
“This is despicable. I condemn this vile act in the strongest terms possible and stand united with Congregation @ShaarHashomayim, Rabbi @AdamScheier, and Jewish Canadians across the country. We must always denounce anti-Semitic hate, no matter when or where it arises,” wrote Trudeau.