Westmount synagogue vandalized with antisemitic graffiti

Westmount, Montreal, QC - A major Montreal synagogue was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti Wednesday afternoon, an act quickly condemned by Jewish groups and the Prime Minister of Canada.

Rabbi Adam Scheier of Shaar Hashomayim, one of the largest synagogues in Montreal, said in a letter to members of the congregation that a man had spray-painted swastikas on the doors of the temple around 2 p.m.

Scheier said the man was quickly detained by a security guard, and police arrived soon afterwards and arrested him. 

The synagogue said the man was carrying a canister of gasoline when he was arrested.

“At this time, we don’t have any reason to fear further attacks against our synagogue building, and we will remain vigilant as always,” Scheier wrote. “The graffiti has been removed and the man is in police custody.”

Montreal police said they arrested a 28-year-old man, who is being held pending his court appearance Thursday. A psychological exam has been ordered because the man appears to be suffering from mental health issues, police said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the act “despicable” on Twitter, reacting to a post by Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller, who condemned the vandalism, calling it an “utter disgrace.”