Following a horrific attack that sent a Chassidic man to the hospital after being beaten, purchase choked and doused with gasoline, community leaders are notifying the community that the attack did not appear to be racially motivated and the police are treating it as criminal in nature.

““Last night, a member of Montreal’s Chassidic Jewish community was severely beaten in the Cote des Neiges district; as of Friday morning, the attacker was still at large,” wrote the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “Montreal police are treating the incident with the utmost seriousness, and are investigating all possible motives for the attack.  However, we stress that at this time there is nothing to suggest that this was a hate crime, and no conclusions should be drawn until the police investigation is complete. CIJA’s Director of Community Security, Adam Cohen, is in close communication with senior police officials. CIJA will advise the community of any significant developments.”

Rabbi Reuven Poupko told CBC News that he was informed by police that the attack did not appear to be a hate crime, yet it was “criminal in nature.”

Constable Andre Leclerc told CTV News that there is nothing yet that indicates that the victim was attacked because of his religion. “We did not conclude, we did not confirm the reason of this crime, if it’s a hate crime or not,” he said. “We’re going to wait for the work done by the investigators.”

The suspect is described as a man in his twenties wearing light coloured clothing. After beating, choking (for over a minute) and dousing the victim with gasoline, he was chased off and ran west along Van Horne. Police investigators searched the surrounding area for the bottle from which the gasoline had been poured, used sniffer dogs to try and locate the attacker, but were unsuccessful.

Constable Leclerc said that the victim was conscious when police arrived but his condition worsened in the hospital and he was sedated. Chaverim Shomrim reported that the victim was taken off the respirator Friday morning and has no broken bones. Nonetheless, they urged the community to continue praying and saying Tehillim (Psalms) for Shlomo Zalmen Ben Sheva.

By Zvi Hershcovich –

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