Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Outremont residents replace swastikas with hearts in bid to counter hate 

Hearts are carved in the snow on cars parked on Lajoie Ave. in Outremont, Feb. 7, 2017, in response to swastikas that were drawn in the snow on cars in the area. Many residents in the area are Jewish.

Jennifer Dorner and a few of her neighbours hit the streets to carve out hearts on snowy vehicles after noticing several of them tarnished by swastikas on Monday evening. 

"The kids were really happy to do that," said Dorner. "They're old enough to understand what the symbol means."

She said the group of neighbours deployed via several community Facebook groups and tried to counter the act by drawing hearts on as many cars as possible.

"We were out there for about an hour with the kids," said Dorner. 

"I think what's going on in the U.S. makes some people think it's OK to do this," she said. "We decided to combat it."

Mayer Feig, a spokesperson for the Hasidic Jewish community in Outremont, said he was disappointed to see that someone drew swastikas in the snow so soon after six Muslims were killed while praying in a mosque in Quebec City. "I thought they would lie low for a while," he said of the vandals. "But this is an in-your-face kind of message. They're saying:'We are not afraid to come out and say we hate you, even in these times.'"

Feig said he was heartened to see the response of some Outremont residents who supported his community. "It was a very lovely gesture," he said.

The Outremont incident is the second anti-Semitic act to come to light this week. On Monday, someone posted several threatening anti-Semitic messages on an attendance sheet belonging to a children's swim team in Côte-St-Luc.

In Quebec City, Kathleen Weil, the MNA for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, denounced the attack against the Jewish community. "I find it absolutely frightening, " she said. "I want to extend all of my sentiments to the Jewish community and to the young people who were targeted." 

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