Canadian Muslims warned of incidents ‘motivated by hate’ after Paris attacks

Selena Ross | The Globe and Mail
November 17, 2015

Teenage Muslim girls at a north Toronto mosque have a new rule this week: Don’t walk alone to Islamic night school. And whatever you do, don’t jaywalk – you don’t want to give drivers any excuses, cautioned Aleemuddin Syed, director of Darul Khair Islamic Centre.

“You can’t read the person’s mind,” he told The Globe and Mail. “He could hit her.”

The warnings came after the Islamic State’s co-ordinated killings in Paris and an ensuing spate of anti-Muslim hate crimes in Canada. The incidents this week include the burning of a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., and racist graffiti and many reported verbal encounters across the country, leading Muslim and police groups to offer safety advice.

Mr. Syed’s mosque saw one of the most violent incidents. A 31-year-old mother who attends the Darul Khair mosque was picking up her five-year-old from school on Monday when she was approached by two male strangers and viciously beaten. Kicks to her stomach left her with heavy bruising and possible internal bleeding.

The assailants also tore off the woman’s hijab and robbed her. According to the victim’s brother, they told her, “You terrorist, you don’t belong here.”

Police say the incident appears to be “motivated by hate.”

Anti-Muslim crimes have been on the rise in Canada for the last few years. Several Muslim Canadians said Tuesday that, despite the events of this week, such incidents still feel rare. But for some, they have shaken a sense of everyday safety for the first time.

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“Such hateful and cowardly acts are abhorrent to all Canadians who stand united in condemning xenophobia and hatred,” said Ihsaan Gardee, the director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

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