Muslim woman’s assault in Toronto appears ‘motivated by hate,’ police say

An unprovoked attack on a Muslim woman near an elementary school in Toronto appeared to be "motivated by hate," police said Tuesday as they investigated the incident that was swiftly denounced by local politicians.

TORONTO — An unprovoked attack on a Muslim woman near an elementary school in Toronto appeared to be “motivated by hate,” police said Tuesday as they investigated the incident that was swiftly denounced by local politicians.

The attack came two days after a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was set ablaze in the aftermath of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead.

Peterborough police are investigating the fire as a hate crime and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured Muslim Canadians the federal government would work hard to find those responsible.

The Toronto assault took place around 3 p.m. on Monday near the mid-town Grenoble Public School while a woman was on her way to pick up her son.

Police said the woman, who was wearing a hijab, was approached by two men and attacked.

“It was a completely unprovoked attack,” said Const. Victor Kwong. “She was punched all over and kicked.”

The two men hurled slurs that were “bigoted in nature” at the woman and tried to rip off her hijab, Kwong said.

The woman fell to the ground and was robbed of her cellphone and some money before the two men fled the area, he said.

The entire incident was observed by a witness who called police, he said. The woman was taken to hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries and has since been released.

Police said they are currently interviewing witnesses, gathering surveillance video from the area and asking anyone with information to contact them.

“There’s no doubt that this is hate-motivated,” Kwong said, noting that police typically see a spike in such incidents after events like the attacks in Paris.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for attacks Friday in Paris that sent shock waves around the world. French officials say the attacks were carried out by disaffected French Muslims under the supervision of a Belgian who had fought in Syria.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who represents the riding where the Toronto assault took place, said Canadians need to guard against racism.

“We need to be vigilant in our communities, whether it’s in Flemingdon in my own riding, or in Peterborough, or anywhere in the province and the country, not to let these horrible events trigger hatred,” she said.

“I think that this is actually a time we need to reach out to our Muslim neighbours and friends and recognize the acts that took place in Paris were acts of terrorism and not borne of religion.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory also denounced the attack, calling it “disgusting, unacceptable and not reflective of our city’s values.”

Some residents of the neighbourhood where the woman was assaulted expressed their dismay.

“It’s some kind of idiot, it’s not the Canadian people,” Sahar Badawi, herself a Muslim, said of the woman’s assailants. “Most people, regardless their religion, regardless what they believe in, they respect Canada, they love Canada.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read