The Ontario Provincial Police [official website] on Thursday announced hate crimes charges [press release] against a Bangladeshi-born Canadian man after he posted comments on a website calling for the extermination of Jewish people. Salman Hossain was charged with three counts of willfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group and two counts of advocating genocide against an identifiable group, making him the first person to be charged [National Post report] for advocating genocide under Ontario's criminal code. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Among Hossain's alleged statements are calls for the extermination of Jewish people throughout Europe and North America, terrorist attacks on Canada and for the violent overthrow of western governments. The Canadian Jewish Congress [official website] has praised the charges [press release], calling them a commitment to the rights of Canadians to live "free from vilification[,] ... demonization and ... genocidal threats." Ontario Attorney General [official website] considered pressing charges last year, but declined to do so after Hossain removed most of the offensive material from his website. This decision was reversed once Hossain resumed posting content to Filthy Jewish Terrorists [CONTENT WARNING], an anti-Jewish conspiracy-theory website. Hossain responded to the charges in a post [CONTENT WARNING] on the website, stating that "calling for ... genocide [was] the right thing ... a [nuclear] type assault is literally the only solution," and claiming to renounce Canadian citizenship. Hossain left Canada during the investigation and is now believed to be in Bangladesh [Montreal Gazette report], which does not have an extradition treaty in force with the Canadian government.
In June, Canadian police reported that members of the Jewish faith were the most frequently targeted religious group [JURIST report] in Canada. The report, which also detailed a 35 percent increase in hate crimes [materials] from 2007 to 2008, found that two-thirds of religiously motivated hate crimes were committed against members of the Jewish faith, constituting a 42 percent rise over the previous year. During 2008, police reported 1,036 total hate crimes, with 55 percent motivated by race, 26 percent motivated by religion and 16 percent motivated by sexual orientation, an increase from the 785 total hate crimes reported [materials] for 2007. Increases occurred among all groups, with the number of hate crimes related to sexual orientation more than doubling. In addition to the increase in the number of hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation, the report also found that almost 75 percent of these crimes were violent and that men were overwhelmingly the targets of the violence. Hate crimes based on race were violent 38 percent of the time while those based on religion were violent 25 percent of the time. Blacks were the most frequently targeted racial group.