Home » News » Buzz » Trolls Hijack Online Jewish Prayer Service in Canada, Scream Out Slurs
1-MIN READ

Trolls Hijack Online Jewish Prayer Service in Canada, Scream Out Slurs

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

Like many churches and synagogues across Canada, members of the Shaarei Shomayim synagogue have been holding daily services via the video conference Zoom app due to the pandemic.

Ottawa: An online Jewish prayer service held by members of a synagogue in Canada's Toronto city amid the coronavirus pandemic, was hijacked by trolls screaming derogatory slurs, a media report said.

Like many churches and synagogues across Canada, members of the Shaarei Shomayim synagogue have been holding daily services via the video conference Zoom app due to the pandemic, CBC News reported.

"Our congregation has been doing since the Covid-19 crisis began. We pray on behalf of doctors and front-line workers, and on behalf of the world. We pray for an ending of this disease and the finding of a cure," Strauchler told CBC News on Sunday.

"It was specifically at that moment of the service that five or six additional accounts came on... They all began one after another to scream out slurs really intense, hurtful things."

Strauchler said as the attackers screamed, they used their screens to show pornography.

"(They were screaming) a lot of things relating to the Holocaust, things like 'gas chambers' and 'Hitler was right' — just derogatory stuff toward the Jewish people.

"It was traumatic for everyone," he told CBC News.

Strauchler, who has been a rabbi of the Shaarei Shomayim synagogue for more than 10 years, said there were about 20 people online at the time of the incident and many left immediately.

Strauchler said even though members of the synagogue were disturbed by the incident, they continue to hold daily prayer service, adding that there were now new security protocols for persons to participate.

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino has condemned the incident saying anti-Semitism, hatred and division have no place anywhere in Canada.

"I condemn the attack on virtual services at Shaarei Shomayim in the strongest possible terms," he told CBC News in a statement on Sunday.

"It was a cowardly, offensive and deeply inappropriate intrusion on what should have been a moment of prayer, quiet contemplation and renewal."

Meanwhile, Strauchler said the incident was reported to Toronto police who are working with the owners of the Zoom app to track down the attackers.

It's being investigate as a possible hate crime, Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray told CBC News.

first published:April 27, 2020, 13:38 IST