A Canadian man, who earlier this year offered a $2,500 reward for recordings of Muslim students “spewing hate speech during Friday prayers”, was charged Monday with committing a hate crime.
Kevin J. Johnston, a former mayoral candidate in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto, was charged with willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group following “concerns over information published on various social media sites,” said Peel Region police that is responsible for securing Mississauga.
Johnston was charged following a five-month investigation that revealed “multiple incidents that the investigators were looking at,” police Sgt. Josh Colley told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“The group that was targeted was the Muslim community (and that) affects us all,” Colley said.
Rabia Khedr, the head of an area Canadian Muslim council, said following Johnston’s arrest the Muslim community “can sleep safer knowing that there are consequences for promoting hatred and inciting violence against us”.
Johnston posted a YouTube video in March offering a $1,000 reward for a recording of Muslim students at Friday prayers “spewing hate speech.
He later raised the amount to $2,500 before his YouTube account was suspended, Canadian media reported. The video caused school officials to issue a memo to be “extra vigilant” about recordings and it resulted in concern among Muslim families.
On his website Johnston also attacked Mississauga MP Iqra Khalid, who introduced a successful anti-Islamophobia motion in the Canadian House of Commons.
“Iqra Khalid needs to be deported as an enemy,” Johnston’s wrote.
He updated the site Monday with his arrest and release from custody following a brief court appearance, but said, “I can talk about almost none of the case.”
The outcome of his court appearance has not been released.