Muslim vandal ‘mentally ill’ says dad
The father of Iqbal Hessan, 22, a Mississauga, Ontario, Muslim accused of vandalising a Catholic church near his home, claimed this week that his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia and that had caused his anger and imbalance.
According to this report, Basir Hessan’s son was released on bail yesterday by Justice of the Peace Gerry Manno after a lengthy hearing that lasted two days.
Iqbal Hessan, inset above, has been charged with breaking and entering, committing an indictable offence and five counts of mischief in connection with several incidents at St Catherine of Siena Church over the past five weeks.
The court heard that Hessan had told police that he was thinking of killing a priest.
During the hearing Manno questioned Hessan’s father over allegations that his son was upset at the church and “upset with Christian religion”.
Crown prosecutor Ann Marie De Grace , who opposed Hessan’s release on bail, said the criminal allegations against him are “troubling and very disturbing” and “shook up” a church and school community.
We still have a segment of society that’s under the threat of Mr Hessan.
Manno said the public has a great deal to be concerned about, including Hessan’s mental illness and the perception:
Of a young man with a Muslim upbringing attacking a Christian church. Besides the simple property, many people would see this as an attack on their faith.
However, Manno said public safety could be met with a plan including psychiatric assessment and other court-imposed conditions. Hessan cannot come within 1,000 metres of the church or school, cannot come within 50 metres of a priest or minister, must be home by 10 pm and cannot visit any other church or school in the region.
Police are consulting with the regional Crown Attorney’s Office to determine whether to charge Hessan with hate crimes in connection with vandalising a religious statue and the church walls.
The Criminal Code allows for laying of hate crime charges under certain criteria, including damaging religious property, where the motivation is bias, prejudice or hate based on religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin.
If found guilty, an accused could face up to 10 years in jail.
No such charges have been laid so far, although police said that the incidents at the church are being investigated as hate crimes.
Hessan’s lawyer, Adil Goraya, said he doesn’t believe there was any religious intent behind the actions.
This is not a hate crime.
After an anti-Semitic message and drawing was spray-painted on the church wall, a statue of Jesus was twice defaced and damaged in front of the church, and graffiti was spray-painted on the exterior of the adjoining St Catherine of Siena Catholic Elementary School — all of which occurred last week — police were notified of further graffiti at the school on Monday morning.
Back in April, a man broke into the church and stole an amplifier worth $2,000.
Father Camillo Lando, pastor of St. Catherine, last week released surveillance video of the break-in in which the suspect rips pages of the Bible, throws them and then steals the electronics.
Hessan returns to court June 30.