Jewish advocacy groups are raising concerns after two alleged anti-Semitic assaults in Toronto in one week.
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CJIA) and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto issued a statement on Wednesday that said a man with a swastika on his chest twice assaulted members of the city’s Jewish community.
The statement said the first incident happened on July 6 near Stanley Park and the second happened on Saturday when the same individual allegedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs at three Jewish women near Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue before attacking a Jewish man.
Videos shared in the statement appeared to show part of the incidents with one capturing a man with a swastika on his chest.
“Like all members of society, Jews should be able to walk down the street with confidence in our safety and security,” the statement said.
“Anti-Semitism is a scourge that is quickly spreading throughout Canada and around the world. Over the past few months, Jewish Canadians — already the most targeted religious minority in this country according to Statistics Canada — have witnessed an alarming rise in hate-motivated harassment, vandalism, and assault.”
CIJA and the UJA Federation thanked the Toronto Police Service for the “immediate response” of officers to the incidents.
A Toronto police spokesperson told Global News they were called to Stanley park on King Street West at 8 a.m. on July 6 regarding a man with a swastika tattoo who was yelling racial slurs at a person.
The man was found and trespassed from the park, police said. He was also issued provincial offences tickets for interfering with the use and enjoyment of the park by others and using profane / abusive language in the park.
Police said officers later learned the man allegedly threw a marker at the initial caller.
Investigators said 32-year-old Toronto resident Michael Park was then charged with assault with a weapon.
Police also said that on Saturday officers were called to the area of Yonge Street and Glen Elm Avenue, just north of St. Clair Avenue, for an assault. A man allegedly assaulted a 33-year-old man “multiple times.”
Officers said Park was charged with assault in relation to that incident.
On Wednesday, investigators said they were still working to determine if the incidents are being treated as hate-motivated.
However, in an update released on Thursday, officers said the investigations were going to be treated as hate motivated.
The charges against Park haven’t been proven in court.
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