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Swastika painted on North York synagogue

Police are investigating after hate graffiti was scrawled on the side of a synagogue on Bayview Avenue.

Staff at the Beth Tikvah Synagogue at 3080 Bayview Ave., near Finch, discovered a swastika and the words “Islam Will Rule,” on the synagogue’s Robbins Hebrew Academy building Thursday night.

“We’re just absolutely devastated by this,” said Rabbi Jarrod Grover.  “As long as hatred is in this world we continue to be vulnerable.”

Ron Morris, who attends the synagogue, said the graffiti is a painful reminder for all members, but especially those who lived through the atrocities of the Holocaust.

“We do have some members that were through the Holocaust and I’m sure that has got to be even more hurtful when they see something like that.”

Premier Dalton McGuinty responded to the news, tweeting; “Saddened by vandalism at #Toronto synagogue.  No place in #Ontario for intolerance or hatred. In this we stand together.”

A surveillance camera is mounted on the wall that was defaced and investigators will be looking over the video.  But maintenance workers at the synagogue said the act likely wasn’t captured on tape because of the angle of the camera.

It’s the third attack in the area this week on a religious building and police believe they could be linked.  

“In all three cases they are classified as hate crimes,” said PC Tony Vella. “When you look at the actual MO, the actual type of paints, the wording, the types of letters that were used (it’s) very similar to the other cases as well.”

Police didn’t reveal what denominations were targeted in the other two cases.

In the meantime, the Jewish community is working together with authorities to beef up security.

“We have been in close contact with police to ensure that immediate measures are being enacted to strengthen Beth Tikvah’s security, as well as Jewish community institutions in general,” Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA) said in a statement.

“We know that this outrageous act will be condemned by Canadian Muslims and members of all faith communities who share our commitment to security, peace, and respect for all faiths.”