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Canadian charged with hate crime over anti-Muslim rants

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Kevin J. Johnston, of the Canadian city of Mississauga, who has been charged with hate crime over anti-Muslim messages

A man in Canada has been charged with hate crime over posting anti-Muslim videos online.

In a video released back in March, Kevin J. Johnston, a 45-year-old resident of the Canadian city of Mississauga, offered a bounty for recordings of Muslim students “spewing hate” while praying.

“I am offering $1,000 of my own money, cash reward, for any of you out there that can sneak a camera into one of these mosque-eterias or mosque-stages or mosque-gymnasiums and get me the footage,” he said.

The man later increased the amount of the reward to $2,500.

His video sparked concern among Muslim families and led the Peel District School Board to issue a memo to its administrators, reminding them that personal recording devices can only be used in schools for educational purposes.

In another footage, Johnston said Liberal MP Iqra Khalid could get shot for introducing an anti-Islamophobia bill in the House of Commons and said that he would be there to witness it with a “with a big, fat smile.”

“Khalid needs to be deported as an enemy,” he wrote on his personal website.

Canadian lawmaker Iqra Khalid

On Monday, Johnston, a former Mississauga mayoral candidate, was released on bail after a brief appearance in court.

Police announced the man was charged with one count of willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group, a Criminal Code offense with a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

The charge “stems from a lengthy investigation into numerous incidents reported to police… and concerns information published on various social media sites,” the police said.

Johnson’s next court date is set for September.

Ihsaan Gardee, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said the charge against the man was “long overdue.”

“We welcome this development as an important step towards safeguarding our communities from unchecked hatred that both harms social cohesion and threatens the safety of community members,” he said.

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