September 16, 2014 7:52 pm
Updated: September 16, 2014 11:24 pm

Police investigating anti-Muslim hate crimes in Fort Saskatchewan


WATCH ABOVE: RCMP are investigating after a Fort Saskatchewan home – also used as a Muslim place of prayer – was targeted several times by vandals. Eric Szeto has the story.

EDMONTON — Police are investigating after a string of anti-Muslim incidents in Alberta in recent days.

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A Fort Saskatchewan home that’s often used as a place of prayer for the community’s small Muslim population has been targeted twice. On Monday, eggs were thrown at the home, with anti-Islam insults written on the shells. A few days before that, on September 11, a large red cross was spray painted on the front of the home.

“Everyone who is living at that house is scared. They don’t feel comfortable. We assume it can happen again. They can destroy our house and easily destroy our vehicles,” said Waseem Akhtar, who lives in the home.

Akhtar added that one of his roommates moved out from fear.

The two cases of vandalism are among three anti-Muslim incidents in Alberta in less than a week. In Calgary, prominent imam Syed Soharwardy was almost hit by a car while walking to his mosque last week.

“[The car] came towards me so I ran, and moved to the side.

“The woman came out of the car, starting yelling and screaming at me, ‘You are a terrorist. You are threatening to Canada. You are threatening me. Go back where you came from, you are not welcome here.’”

“And she used all kinds of racial slurs and vulgarity and profanity.”

Soharwardy says his family and entire congregation are shaken by the events.

READ MORE: Calgary Imam launches hunger strike against ISIS

Amy Awad from the National Council of Muslim Canadians believes that the spike is linked to recent violence in the Middle East at the hands of ISIS.

“The fact there is so much media attention for what’s occurring in Iraq and Syria, the fact there are a number of armed groups claiming to represent Islam and Muslims, raises the profile and increases suspicion that people might have here about their Muslim neighbours.”

READ MORE: Radicalization and ISIS: What’s the threat to Canada?

According to Awad, almost 90 per cent of hate crimes go unreported, meaning that that actual number of crimes is much higher than the reported amount.

With files from Eric Szeto, Global News

© 2014 Shaw Media

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