On Sept 14, just before midnight, Keith Frederick rummaged through the trash behind a Hamilton mosque until he found something flammable. With the objects in hand he walked to Ibrahim Jam-E Mosque, dropped them in front of the door, took a knee and lit them.
This was how he was going to, as he texted his uncle weeks earlier, "bring his own jihad to those camel fuckers."
The trash ignited in a ball of flames. With that, the 34-year-old man turned and walked away, seemingly unaware that all of this was caught on the mosque's security camera. Soon after the fire started, a newly-arrived group of Syrian refugees saw the flames and called police. Frederick was arrested moments later.
The damage to the mosque was minor as neighbours, including the Syrian refugees, put out the fire. CBC reports that, at the time, a Hamilton police constable said if not for them "the damages could have been worse."
This week, Frederick pleaded guilty to arson. The Crown pressed charges for a hate-based incident and will be asking for harsher punishment in sentencing.
During the court case, the text messages Frederick sent his Uncle—much like the one above—made it clear that religion and race played a key role in this attack. About an hour before he set the fire, one of his texts read "a place of their worship is burning tonight"; another asked his uncle if he could "help me out with firearms."
"Wish I could get my hands on some dynamite," reads another. "There's a brand new mosque I really want to destroy."
Frederick's Facebook page, not updated since the crime, was filled with reports from anti-Muslim news outlets and posts saying things like, Islam "should never ever be allowed in Canada!" On the page it shows he liked both Pegida Canada and the "Christian Defence League"—both far-right anti-Islam communities.
This isn't Frederick's first tangle with the law. In 2007 he was convicted of carrying a concealed firearm and received one year probation and a five year firearm ban.
In a sad irony, the arson came on the 15th anniversary of the arson of the Hindu Samaj Temple in Hamilton which completely consumed and destroyed the building.
Frederick will be sentenced on May 11.
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