Man charged over hate crime at mosque near Toronto, police say

Canadian police arrested and charged a male suspect after what they called a "hate-motivated incident" at a mosque in the province of Ontario on Thursday in which he allegedly drove toward a worshipper and yelled threats and religious slurs, police said on Sunday.

The incident took place in the city of Markham while the suspect, 28-year-old Sharan Karunakaran, was later arrested in Toronto, the York Regional Police said in a statement.

Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng condemned the incident and called it a hate crime, saying it had no place in Canadian society.

The Islamic Society of Markham (ISM) said an individual had entered the mosque in Markham, 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) north of Toronto, on Thursday and apparently torn a Koran and ranted at worshippers. The police statement released on Sunday did not mention the Koran being torn.

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The incident comes during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when worshippers throng to mosques. Thousands of people attend the mosque at Markham.

Police added they charged the suspect with uttering threats, assault with a weapon and dangerous driving. His next scheduled appearance will be at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Newmarket on Tuesday.

"This violence and Islamophobia has no place in our communities," the Canadian trade minister, who is a local member of parliament, said in a reaction to the incident.

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