Suspects nabbed in arson of Canada mosque leader’s car
Canadian authorities have arrested two men who allegedly set fire to a car belonging to the head of a Quebec City mosque where six men at prayer were gunned down in January, Canadian media reported Friday.
Mathieu Bilodeau appeared in a Canadian courtroom Friday facing five counts of arson. He was arrested Thursday, and his interview with police led to the apprehension of another as-yet unidentified man.
The arson took place Aug. 6, outside the home of Mohamed Labidi, the head of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre.
The car burning happened 36 hours after Labidi and Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume held a public celebration to mark the creation of the first Muslim owned and operated cemetery in the Quebec City area.
Authorities said they consider the arson a hate-related crime since police believe the suspects knew Labidi was a Muslim and they both lived near his home.
Bilodeau was charged in connection with four other arsons that occurred between July 16 and Aug. 17. The second suspect is not charged in those crimes.
The burning of Labidi's car was not reported until Aug. 30. Quebec City police spokesperson Cyndi Pare told Anadolu Agency at the time that the incident was not reported earlier "to protect personal information about M. Labidi and his family…and we respected that," adding that making the crime public at the time would not have helped the investigation.