Edmonton police say they have a suspect in custody in relation to a hate crime at the University of Alberta LRT Station early last month.
Police said a man in his 60s walked up to two young women wearing hijabs and pulled a rope from his pocket. The man tied the rope into a noose and said “this is for you,” police said in a media release Monday.
The man then sang O Canada in front of the women. Police said one of the women captured the incident on cellphone video. It happened at around 8:20 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
“It’s unacceptable,” Edmonton Police Service spokesperson Scott Pattison said. “It was not only in poor taste but it’s crossed (the) criminal threshold as well.
“The message that it sent to these two young women, who are studying in Canada as young students, is very worrisome. It’s not what Canada is all about, right? We welcome people to our country, we certainly don’t want them to experience this sort of thing.”
Louise Ashdown, a student at the University of Alberta, was shocked to hear about what happened.
“It’s scary to think that there’s that type of people here that could just be around anywhere and think those kind of discriminatory thoughts,” she said.
The president of the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council said it’s concerning to see Islamophobic incidents occurring more often in Alberta’s capital.
Faisal Suri said Muslims are just as Canadian as anyone else.
“We would wholeheartedly join in and sing the national anthem because we take pride in that.”
Suri said the hijab is a traditional garment.
“It’s a scarf, it’s a head covering,” he explained. “It gives pride and dignity.”
He said he’s happy to see the hate crimes unit investigating the incident.
On Monday, police asked the public for help identifying the suspect and on Tuesday officers said they had a suspect in custody. No further information was released.