A 24-year-old man is expected to appear in court in Montreal on Wednesday afternoon to face several charges for allegedly threatening to kill Arabs and Muslims in Quebec.
He is expected to be charged with uttering threats, public incitement of hatred and a terrorism hoax, Montreal police spokesman Cst. André Leclerc told Radio Canada International.
The threats were made in a Youtube video showing a man wearing a Halloween mask of The Joker, the psychotic killer in the popular Hollywood blockbusters Batman and The Dark Night. Brandishing a pistol, the man in the video threatened to kill Muslims and Arabs.
“I will shoot an Arab in the head, once each week, starting next week,” declared the man in the video.
The video was released on Tuesday by someone using the name “Jack Napier,” an apparent referral to the name of The Joker in the superhero film, but was quickly pulled.
Police investigators carried out an early morning raid on a residence in the borough of Montreal-North and arrested the suspect on Wednesday, Leclerc said.
The pistol featured in the video turned out to be an air gun, not a real firearm, Leclerc said. He said the man, whose name has not been officially released yet, is not known to police.
Leclerc said more information will be released about the suspect once he is formally charged.
This latest incident comes amid reports by Muslim groups of a growing wave of hate crimes, including assaults, verbal and physical harassment, vandalism and arson, targeting Canadian Muslims following the deadly attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.
Police in Toronto are investigating a possible hate crime following an attack on a Muslim woman on Monday. The woman who wears the Muslim headscarf was punched in the stomach and face, called “a terrorist” and was told to go back home by her assailants. And police in Peterbourough, Ontario, are looking into the firebombing of the city’s only mosque over the weekend.
Amira Elghawaby, a spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), said Canadian Muslims “are definitely in a heightened state of awareness around our fellow neighbours.” The NCCM, which tracks anti-Muslim incedents across Canada, has documented 40 cases so far this year. That’s almost twice as much as in 2014, which saw 22 incidents.