Police are investigating a series of attacks on Buddhist sites in Montreal. Vandalized statues are seen outside the Chua Quan Am temple yesterday. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Buddhists sites and temples are vandalized in Montreal

Montreal police have confirmed they are investigating acts of vandalism at Buddhist temples that have left members of the city’s Asian community angry, puzzled and saddened.

A volunteer at one of the temples, Louis Le, says he believes the acts may be backlash directed at the Asian community over the novel coronavirus, which originated in China.

Police, who investigate acts committed against religious symbols as suspected hate crimes, say they have not yet established a motive for the vandalism and have declined to say how many incidents have occurred.

However, workers at three separate temples say statues outside their buildings have been damaged in recent weeks.

About a dozen sculptures and religious icons were shattered at the Chua Quan Am temple in Côte-des-Neiges in two separate events. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Le has lived in Montreal all his life and told The Canadian Press it’s the first time he has heard of incidents that target the city’s Buddhist community.

He said the Chua Quan Am temple in the Côte-des-Neiges district, with which he is affiliated, was vandalized twice in the last month by a hooded individual.

Security cameras caught the alleged vandal smashing statues with a hammer.

Le told CP that 10 statues both inside and outside the temple gate, including a Buddha, were damaged.

Louis Le, a volunteer at the Chua Quan Am temple, said it’s frustrating to see his community targeted by acts of vandalism. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

He also noted that two lion statues at the entrances to Montreal’s Chinatown were recently vandalized with aerosol paint.

“My theory is that it’s because of the coronovirus at the moment,” Le said.

“People associate it with the Asian community. They’re prejudices and unjust.”

Tran Dinh, a Buddhist nun who works at the Thuyen Ton Buddhist Association in the Rosemount-La Patrie district, told CBC News that she found several of the organization’s statues partially destroyed last Friday.

A pair of lions were vandalized recently outside of the Huyen Khong Buddhist Socio-Cultural Centre in Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

And lion statues outside the Huyen Khong Buddhist Socio-Cultural Centre, about two kilometres away, were recently damaged.

Chinese or Imperial guardian lions are a traditional Chinese architectural ornament. Typically made of stone, they are also known as stone lions or shishi. In colloquial English, they are known as lion dogs or foo dogs.”

“I’m very sad. A little angry,” she told CBC News.

“Why did these people attack our statues?

With files from CBC, Canadian Press

Categories: International, Society
Tags: ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

For reasons beyond our control, and for an undetermined period of time, our comment section is now closed. However, our social networks remain open to your contributions.