Why Has Canada Become the Epicenter of Arson Attacks on Churches?

Raymond Ibrahim, published 07/10/24.

On Sunday, June 9, 2024, the historic St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Toronto, and its many artifacts and precious paintings, were “completely destroyed” in a blaze, to quote Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop.  The torched church’s pastor, Rev. Don Beyers, added that the congregation is “greatly devastated”:

I’m crushed, I feel for my people. You can’t imagine what this is like for a church community to come on Sunday morning to find that everything you worked so hard for and done so much for [is] gone in the matter of an hour.

Authorities said “The fire has not been deemed criminal in nature yet,” thereby implying no foul play.

This may seem to be a reasonable conclusion, at least for those unaware that Canada—not Egypt or Nigeria—has fast become the world’s epicenter of arson attacks on churches. Over the last two-and-a-half years, over 100 churches have been vandalized, torched, or desecrated in the “Great North” (mapped and listed here).

This phenomenon received a bit of media attention after the first 30 or so churches were torched in the summer of 2021.  Since then, and much more quietly—meaning with as little media attention as possible—that number has continued to grow to over 100, with the authorities doing little, aside from offering implicit approval for these anti-Christian terror attacks.

Background: According to Canadian “mainstream” media—all of which are left of Left—unmarked graves of natives were discovered in residential boarding schools, and the Catholic Church is being accused of sadistically killing its young scholars and trying to cover it up.

The problem, however, is that this widely shared narrative is inherently false (see here and here).  These graves were once marked and therefore known, and most of those presumably buried in them died of natural causes. The deaths, moreover, took place primarily in the early 1800s.  Apparently some plague—epidemics were especially common back then—broke out in these church-sponsored boarding schools for natives, in part due to the lack of hygiene and proper medical treatment (in comparison to modern standards and technology).  As Jeff Fynn-Paul, author of Not Stolen: The Truth About European Colonialism in the New World, writes,

Recent claims of ‘hundreds’ of graves found at Indigenous schools in Canada—claims that were propagated by the board of the Canadian Historical Association no less—have proven to be almost entirely unfounded… [T]he notion that these schools were set up for maleficent ends has been debunked roundly for anyone who cares to look into it.

But since when did those who hate Christianity care to examine facts when a good pretext is handy?  They much prefer to run with claims of innocent young natives being tortured, murdered, and secretly buried by dastardly clerics.  As one report states, “In response to these announcements [of mass graves], far-left radicals have used this opportunity as an excuse to terrorize Catholic and other Christian communities by targeting churches.”

If “far-left radicals” have been the foot soldiers, far-left politicians—that is, the Canadian ruling elite—have provided them with cover.

On June 30, 2021, after the first two dozen churches were torched, Harsha Walia, the then head of British Colombia’s Civil Liberties Association—which claims to “promote, defend, sustain, and extend civil liberties and human rights”—tweeted in regards to the churches: “Burn it all down.” (So much for her championing the “civil liberties and human rights” of Canadians; apparently they only apply to some people, not others.)

A Punjabi born and raised in Bahrain, it made sense for Walia to respond in this manner.  Not only are church burnings routine in the Muslim world, but Pakistan and India are so anti-Christian that they are currently ranked as the seventh and eleventh worst persecutors of Christians in the entire world. In India alone, 2,228 churches were attacked or torched in 2023 (and 160 Christians slaughtered).

As usual, however, Islamic/Indian hate for Christianity finds an ally in the “Left.”  Prominent Newfoundland lawyer, Caitlin Urquhart, merely parroted Walia—“Burn it all down.” Heidi Mathews of Harvard Law School described the vandalization and torching of churches as “the right of resistance to extreme and systemic injustice.” Gerald Butts, a close confidant of the Canadian prime minister, said the attacks were “understandable.”

As for the fearless leader of Canada himself, after offering the usual lip service and saying that ongoing church attacks are “unacceptable,” Justin Trudeau said:

I understand the anger that’s out there … against institutions like the Catholic Church. It is real, and it is fully understandable given the shameful history that we’re all becoming more and more aware of.

Got that? Attacks on Christian churches are “unacceptable”—but they’re also “understandable.”   Considering that these two words cancel each other out, Trudeau’s was a call for no action—hence why some 60 more churches have been attacked since he spoke.  As Ezra Levant said on July 7, 2021,

He [Trudeau] introduced an anti-hate crime bill in parliament that’s targeting mean tweets and Facebook posts, but literally you have church after church being torched by Antifa-style terrorists and he’s almost silent on the matter, and his right hand man [Gerald Butts] finds it understandable.

The denial has only continued.  After stating that four churches were torched in the days leading up to this last Christmas, 2023, a report states that, “as it turns out, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have — so far — zero evidence that any of the church arsons have any link to anti-Christian animus.” “None of the, of the files we’ve solved, showed any particular affinity against the churches whatsoever,” Cpl. Troy Savinkoff, a RCMP spokesman, was quoted as saying, before emphasizing that there’s no evidence that the fires are linked or part of any “concerted effort” against churches.

Sounds very similar to the authorities’ response—that is, denial—to the most recent church torching of June 9, 2024, doesn’t it? “The fire has not been deemed criminal in nature yet.”

That all of these ongoing attacks on churches in Canada are motivated first and foremost by a hate for Christianity is amply demonstrated by the fact that non-Catholic churches—such as the most recent to be torched, St. Anne’s Anglican Church—are among the many to be attacked or destroyed, even though the official pretext is anger at the Catholic Church. Indeed, even a Coptic church was in 2021 torched to the ground in Canada—with the authorities, once again, apparently failing to do their duty properly.

The question begs itself: What on earth do the non-European Copts, Egypt’s native Christians—who began migrating to Canada over a century after these graves were first dug, primarily to escape religious persecution—have to do with this issue? Nothing, they just happen to be Christian—their church boasted a crucifix atop its steeple—and that’s all that matters, all that warrants hate crimes and indifference for them in Leftist Canada.  Evil, after all, never needs an excuse to manifest itself, though a pretext always offers good cover.

And so, what was once the preserve of the Islamic world—hostility for and attacks on churches—is now a regular and acceptable feature of Canada.  Considering that radical Leftists and radical Muslims believe in the exact opposite things, when it comes to torching churches, they are, rather tellingly, close allies.  This speaks volumes about what truly animates them both, and what is—and always has been—at the core of their belief systems.