Hate Crime: String Of Anti-Muslim Attacks Hit Canada

There has been a spate of concerning anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada over the last number of months in the wake of a heated national election campaign that saw some anti-Muslim sentiment pushed to the foreground of Canadian politics, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and now the attacks in San Bernardino, California. As well, the pledge by the new Liberal government in Canada to bring 25,000 Syrian Refugees into the country has received a negative, anti-Muslim, xenophobic backlash by some Canadians.

In Calgary on Thursday afternoon, anti-Muslim and anti-Syrian refugee graffiti messages were found in one of Calgary Transit’s LRT station and cars in the nearby parking lot, as well as on the side of a CTrain.

The hate graffiti was reported to Calgary Transit by a man named Praneet (last name withheld), who expressed how he felt to the Calgary Herald.

“I’m deeply disturbed, really, and I’m just saddened… It’s sad to see that whoever these perpetrators are, they see what’s happening on TV or their Facebook feed and they just form an opinion that every single person who practices Islam is like this.”

CTV News quotes a spokesperson for Calgary Transit, Ron Collins, expressing his dismay over the hate crime incident and commitment to dealing with the problem.

“This was a horrible act and nobody expects something like this to happen. We took immediate steps to remove the graffiti as soon as it was reported to us.”

Meanwhile, in Mississauga, Ontario, on Tuesday, a 26-year-old Muslim woman wearing a hijab was attacked in what police are calling a hate crime.

Global News reports that a man grabbed the woman by the shoulder and made “derogatory” remarks. Another person stepped in while the incident took place to prevent the attack from going any further and the assailant fled on foot. Police are looking for the suspect.

anti Muslim hate crime suspect
Drawing of the suspect in anti-Muslim hate crime, Mississauga [Photo Peel Regional Police Handout]

In mid-November, yet another anti-Muslim hate crime took place in Toronto when two men attacked a Muslim woman when she went to pick her kids up at Grenoble Public School at around 3 p.m. In that attack, the two males approached her, called her a terrorist, said she should go back to her own country, ripped her hijab off her head, stole her money and phone, and punched her.

After the anti-Muslim hate crime incident, the woman’s brother spoke to the media, although asked to do so anonymously to protect the victim’s identity.

“She’s very taken aback, she received multiple shots to her stomach, to her face, we’re worried about her internal situation right now. That’s the school I went to, that’s the school she went to. We were born and raised here, our parents came here 40 years ago, 45 years ago, and we’re not going anywhere.”

In another highly publicized anti-Muslim hate crime incident, the Masjid Al-Salaam mosque in Peterborough, Ontario (the only mosque in the city) was torched in an arson attack. No one was in the mosque at the time of the attack, which took place at 11 p.m., although members of the mosque had left just an hour earlier. They were there to celebrate the birth of a new baby in the community.

CBC News reports Kawartha Muslim Religious Association president Kenzu Abdella discussing the impact of the arson hate crime on mosque attendees.

“The scare for people is that what if this had happened while we were in there? So there’s a bit of uneasiness in the community.”

The director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Ihsaan Gardee, spoke about the incident and expressed concern and disappointment over the anti-Muslim hate crime.

“This attack is very disturbing. The mosque is regularly attended by families with young children. We are relieved no one was injured as this incident could have been much worse. While deeply hurtful and offensive, Canadian Muslims know that such acts do not represent the views of the vast majority of their fellow Canadians or of the residents of Peterborough.”

These are just a few of the anti-Muslim hate crimes that have been reported across the country that have left both Muslim and non-Muslim Canadians shocked and concerned.

[Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]