Merchants in the Monkland Village are wondering if they’ve been the target of a possible hate crime.
Following an early morning fire on Friday, the Jewish owner of dog grooming salon discovered three swastikas and a pentagram spray painted in the hallway connecting his store to those of his neighbours — one of the owners is Chinese, the other Vietnamese.
Kobi Ben-Jacob says he only discovered the swastikas on Monday morning after he dealt with the smoke and water damage from the fire on Friday — the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
He still doesn’t know if the fire and graffiti are connected, or even if the spray-painted symbols should be constitute an actual hate crime.
“Obviously it’s upsetting, but it’s very hard to determine whether it was done by a bunch of kids who were playing around and be foolish, or whether it was done as a hate crime,” he says. “It shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it’s hard to say whether it’s a hate crime or a crime of opportunity.”
He says the Monkland Village is a safe, multi-cultural family neighbourhood, and that he has never experienced any hate crimes there before.