The number of antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes in Toronto, Canada's largest city, has spiked significantly since the start of the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7, authorities said on Friday.
Police chief Myron Demkiw said 78 hate crimes had been reported between Oct. 7 and Nov. 20, compared to 37 in the same time frame in 2022. The real number was undoubtedly higher since some people were hesitant to come forward, he added.
The number of reported antisemitic hate crimes in this period almost trebled to 38 from 13 last year, while those involving the Muslim, Palestinian and Arab population leapt to 17 from just one in 2022.
Incidents include the throwing of a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue and the shooting of the doors of Jewish schools, created a new front in the war to keep Jewish communities around the world safe and for international public opinion.
"The impact of the events in the Middle East on our city are ongoing and have escalated since Oct. 7," Demkiw told a televised news conference.
Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel and subsequent Israeli retaliation, 25 people have been arrested and 64 charges laid in relation to reported hate incidents.
"(Hate crimes) can traumatize not just victims, but all members of the targeted community and beyond," said Demkiw. Toronto has temporarily boosted the size of its hate crime unit to 29 from the usual six.
With around three million people living in Toronto, it is by far the biggest city in Canada, which has a population of just over 40 million.