April 13, 11:45am —
Maitland Cassia issued a statement this morning about the alleged attack on his Abbotsford home last week.
“The bombing attack on our home was a despicable and cowardly act, committed without provocation, and perpetrated by individuals who are unknown at this time,” Cassia writes in an email to Xtra.
“Any speculation that myself or any other member of Anti-Racist Action might have been involved in the planning or execution of this act for publicity purposes is ludicrous and unfounded,” he adds.
He says he can’t discuss details of the alleged attack for fear of compromising the police investigation.
But he does say this is the fifth attack on anti-racism activists in Alberta, BC and Oregon in two years with a possible link to Neo-Nazi groups, and not the only case involving an explosive.
He describes the device used in the alleged attack on his home as an Improvised Explosive Device.
April 9 — Two weeks after anti-racism activists counter-protested a rumoured neo-Nazi gathering in the Lower Mainland, somebody has firebombed the Abbotsford home of one of the lead counter-protesters.
Maitland Cassia’s home was attacked early in the morning of April 5, while he was asleep. A neighbour heard the blast and woke him up and together they put out the blaze before anyone was hurt.
A police report says damage was limited to a basement doorway area, but that the fire had the potential to create much greater property damage which could have resulted in loss of life.
Few other details have emerged about the attack, but the report notes the fire was set remotely through the use of a fuse several feet in length.
The RCMP bomb squad was called in to investigate, and the attack is now a priority for the Abbotsford Police Department’s Major Crime Unit.
According to Facebook, a neo-Nazi rally was planned for March 21, beginning at Braid SkyTrain station. A number of anti-racism groups held a counter-protest at the same site, including Cassia’s Anti-Racism Action group. The neo-Nazi rally never materialized, but neo-Nazi “scouts” attended the counter-protest and took pictures and video, some of which has since appeared on neo-Nazi websites.
According to reports, Cassia believes the attack on his home was neo-Nazi retaliation for the protest. Cassia could not be reached for comment.
Abbotsford Police Const Ian MacDonald says there is no pattern of neo-Nazi activity in the city and that none of the other protesters has been attacked.
“We aren’t immune from people posting things to the internet,” says MacDonald. “There are fringe groups that will post any number of things to the internet, but none of those we have surveyed indicate that Abbotsford is a hotbed or target of this activity.
“I know that some people have made that link, and we are going to treat that seriously and investigate that,” he adds.
Major Crime detectives are requesting that anyone with information about the incident contact them at 604-859-5225 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.