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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Drinking no excuse for racial slurs

Abderrazek Barhoumi and Said Jaziri, the imam at Al-Qods mosque on Belanger St. E., came out of the building about 1 a.m. Saturday. They saw a man walk toward them and lift his sweater to show a knife in his belt.

[Pierre] Brabant is alleged to have asked one of the Muslim men if he had a bomb on him, then asked both if they wanted to die as martyrs, the police report said.

Saying, "I want to kill you, damn it," Brabant is then alleged to have pulled out the knife and pointed it in their direction.

Barhoumi took off on foot, police said, with the assailant close behind. Jaziri got into his car, called 911 and started following the two men.

Two police cars arrived on Iberville St., where they arrested and searched Brabant.

"He said he didn't do anything but then admitted to asking if the men had explosives," Berube said, reading from the police report. "Once inside the police car, Brabant said, 'You're on the side of the terrorists now.' "

Police found a knife with a 20-centimetre blade wrapped in newspaper on the ground nearby.

Outside the courtroom, defence lawyer Daphney Colin brushed off the term "hate crime" when asked about the charges against her client, which include assault, uttering death threats and possession of a weapon. Montreal police called the attack a hate crime when they arrested Brabant on Saturday morning.

"This is not a hate crime at all," Colin said. "He's a normal person who drank too much."....

[The Judge] ruled that given Brabant's relatively unblemished past - he was charged with assault and mischief in 1991 and 1992, respectively - he would be released on $5,000 bail. She ordered Brabant, a delivery truck driver, to stay away from alcohol, respect a 10 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew and not possess weapons. The accused, who lives a block away from the Rosemont mosque where the attack occurred, is not to go within 50 metres of the building. [Link]

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