Authorities announced an investigation into a suspicious fire at a church in the Canadian city of Burlington after pro-Islamic State graffiti was scrawled on the walls of the burned-out building.
The blaze occurred early Wednesday morning and firefighters were called to the scene at around 1 am to Trinity Baptist Church in the northern part of Burlington, Ontario Canadian broadcaster Global News reports.
The day after the blaze was put out vandals had written on the side of the burnt-out church “ISIS” and “ISIS will remain” fueling speculation over the cause of the fire.
— DR (@Media371) August 16, 2017
The fire marshall of Ontario will be investigating the blaze, though so far have not made any statements as to whether or not the graffiti is linked to the incident. While firefighters were able to save much of the newer part of the church the entirety of the old church was irreparably damaged in the fire.
While Canadian media have reported the incident, the mention of the Islamic State graffiti has been largely played down by many outlets. The Canadian public broadcaster CBC mentioned the graffiti in their story but the Pastor of the church Carl Muller dismissed the graffiti in an interview with the outlet.
“I’d be surprised if ISIS targeted us. We’re small fish, you know?” Muller said adding, “I just think it’s some malevolent, small-minded people who have done this. I hope they catch them, if, in fact, it was arson.”
Breitbart London spoke to Pastor Muller who said that if he could meet the arsonist he would talk to them about Christ and said the arson would not stop him or the church.
Det. Sgt. Ron Hansen of the local Halton police said that they weren’t sure the graffiti had any connection but didn’t want to rule it out either. “Our investigation is continuing in conjunction with the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office and it is more likely that the graffiti was done to increase the public interest in the fire,” he said.
The rise of radical Islamism in Canada has been a worry for many Canadians, especially after the terror attack in the nation’s capital in 2014 in which Michael Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed Corporal Nathan Cirillo as he was on sentry duty.
Earlier this year another attack occurred at a Canadian Tire store in Toronto in which a fully veiled Muslim woman, later identified as32-year-old Rehab Dughmosh, attacked employees with a knife. When she appeared in court, still fully veiled, Dughmosh renounced her Canadian citizenship and declared allegiance to the Islamic State.