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Swastikas found painted on trees in Barrie investigated as hate crime


Authorities are investigating a hate crime in Barrie after residents found swastikas spray-painted on trees in a local forest.

Thomas Messenger was walking his dog when he noticed the disturbing markings on trees throughout Lackie's Bush in the city's south end.

"I was angry at first, then there's the disappointment," he said.

"It's obviously, very disturbing to know that in times like ours, anti-semitism is still there," said Rabbi Mendel Nakkar of the Chabad Jewish Centre of Barrie. "I know of Jewish families who, unfortunately, don't like to put the mezuzah on their doors because of fear that people will know they're Jewish and maybe somebody will come and paint the swastika on their door."

Mayor Alex Nuttall condemned the graffiti, and city workers promptly covered it the next day.

"This type of vandalism is extremely disturbing," Nuttall stated. "We will not tolerate any messages or symbols that promote hatred in our community."

Messenger said he was exposed to the symbols of hate as a small child in Germany but hoped he would never see them again after moving to Canada. He would like high school students or local artists to cover up the antagonistic symbols with signs of positivity or anti-hate messaging.

Meanwhile, the Chabad Jewish Centre of Barrie said it wouldn't let the anti-Semitic incident damper its plans to celebrate a Jewish holiday on Tuesday.

Rabbi Nakkar noted, "We're gathering specifically outside to be able to express our Jewishness in an open manner."

"We as a community, although we are a minority here, we are strong. We don't let things like this phase us. We have to know that we are Jews and proud Jews, and we will continue to be proud Jews," the rabbi concluded. Top Stories

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