Police are aware of a possible threat from Daesh supporters against the Toronto Pride parade circulating online. However, organizers said the event will continue as planned.
Dalhousie University professor Amarnath Amarasingam tweeted a post Tuesday. The Professor discovered on an online jihadi channel, depicting a gun, information about the parade’s time and location. The post also showed a note saying: “The Toronto Gay Pride Parade is an excellent target. Plenty of kafir sodomites to kill.”
Amarasingam told the Star the post was found on a “German-language ISIS fanboy channel” . No chatter about the parade has yet been found anywhere else online.
The post was also discovered by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.
“Unfortunately, these kinds of threats are all too common,” said Bruce Riedel, of the Brookings Institution, who previously worked at the CIA and served as a senior advisor in the National Security Council at the White House.
“Almost all are bogus, but the security services have to check each one.”
The RCMP deferred comment to Toronto police, where spokesman Mark Pugash said they are aware the post.
“We monitor threats 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take all threats very seriously. We always err on the side of caution when it comes to public safety. We review our security plans regularly, making whatever adjustments are necessary,” he said, declining to comment further.
Pride Toronto, which had already promised safe and secure festivities this week after a man shot and killed 49 people in an Orlando gay club in the early morning on June 12th, also said it was made aware of the post.
“We trust that the security measures in place will create a safe and welcoming environment for our community. The Pride Parade will proceed as planned,” the statement said.
“Our partners in law enforcement continue to monitor any new developments and we are working very closely with them to ensure the safety of attendees and participants.
“Pride Toronto will not contribute to a culture of fear by responding to threats. Instead, we will continue to focus on creating a safe space for our community and city to enjoy the remainder of Pride Month.”
After last weekend’s massacre in Florida, Pride Toronto’s executive director told reporters on Monday that organizers were shocked, but undeterred.
“We will march, we will rally, we will talk about human rights. We will have the biggest parade ever. We will dance in the streets and we will dance in the clubs,” Mathieu Chantelois said.
Pride organizers met representatives of the RCMP, city police and the prime minister’s office on Monday to discuss security concerns.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said the shooting in Orlando demonstrates the vulnerability of a democratic society to “lone-wolf actors” and those inspired by the Daesh message.