Toronto man arrested in hate crime against Muslims
A man was charged with assault and threatening death for altercation with a Muslim family in Toronto that was hate-motivated, Toronto police said Friday.
“He was swearing and pushing people and telling this family to get out of the province,” said witness Hasan Ahmed.
The family was at the Toronto ferry terminal, waiting to buy tickets, when the incident occurred.
He demanded to know where the family was from, and two men in the family asked the suspect to leave them alone before the suspect responded with obscenities.
“I don’t give a [expletive],” he screamed at the pair. “You don’t tell me what to do in my province. You don’t ask me a [expletive] question. It’s my [expletive] province.”
A video of the incident, which occurred Monday, was posted on Facebook has received more than 1 million hits.
Ferry terminal security personnel intervened and brought the incident to a halt. After an investigation, police laid the charges, saying the incident “was clearly hate-motivated.”
Statistics show that hate crimes against minorities are on the rise in Canada, especially in high population areas like Toronto.
Muslims and Jews are particular targets.
They increased to 158 in 2017 from 56 in 2016 in the Brampton and Mississauga areas — regions surrounding Toronto — according to a police report. In all, 57 of the 158 involved Muslims.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a civil liberties and advocacy organization, said it was imperative that such evidence be made public.
“The NCCM welcomes publication of these important hate crimes statistics,” said Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM executive director, when the report was released. “The sharp rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes is particularly concerning and confirms recent trends.”
Earlier this month, a Mississauga man was severely beaten as he was heading home from a picnic with his family.
Abu Marzouk exited his car after two men kicked the vehicle and he was attacked as his two daughters, aged 4 and 6, watched. He was taken to the hospital with multiple fractures to the face and brain hemorrhaging.
In another recent case, a man in a supermarket refused to allow a Muslim customer to leave, calling him an “illegal immigrant.”
And in an incident in 2017, several people invaded a Toronto-area school board meeting and tore pages from the Quran as they hurled Islamophobic comments. They were upset that the board was considering a policy of letting Muslim students write their own sermons for Friday prayers at schools. Using the school for Friday prayers was a policy introduced 20 years ago.