Saskatoon’s Muhammad Kashif says he was taking his routine walk when a vehicle allegedly drove up and then someone stabbed him in the back multiple times.
The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) said the “serious assault” was reported in the 2900 block of Preston Avenue South shortly before 6 a.m. on Friday.
“One guy held my head and started abusing me, using the f-word and a lot of things. And, ‘Why are you wearing this dress?’ ‘Why are you here?’ ‘You go back to your country.’ ‘We hate Muslims’ and that kind of thing. They hurt me. That’s fine but when they cut my beard, that’s what hurt me,” Kashif said.
“Two persons, 110 per cent sure because the one guy is holding me and one guy is cutting the beard.
“After that, I tried to hide it and I was stabbed at my arm … On my arm here, one stab, has 14 stitches, and this stab has five stitches, and my back hurts too but not any stitches.”
Kashif said he couldn’t find his phone or keys and ran to his Eastview neighbourhood home.
“Came back to home, knocked on the door and my wife’s sleeping, kids are sleeping upstairs and they don’t hear a ring. And then I tried my neighbours and the neighbours also sleeping. They are very good, my neighbours, but they are also sleeping,” Kashif said.
“So then I go walked through the front, tried my best and try to stop someone and three, four vehicles, tried to stop it but they did not stop. Then I lied down on my backyard … (a truck driver) stopped the vehicle, he asked me, ‘What happened?’ I said, ‘Someone stabbed me’ and then he called 911.”
Police said the 32-year-old Saskatoon man was assessed on scene and taken to hospital with what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.
When asked how he felt after the attack, Kashif told Global News he was still in shock.
“I don’t know … My kids, my wife’s very shocked right still now. It has just happened this morning, I am still in shock and scared,” Kashif said.
“I’m happy I’m still alive.
“It’s everywhere, crimes happen, doesn’t matter where you live. There’s crimes everywhere I never thought it would happen in Saskatoon … This is my country, I’ve been living here the last 20 years. I was 12 years old when I came to Canada.”
Kashif said he moved to Saskatoon from Montreal with his family in 2006.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark released a statement about the attack on Friday.
“We are going through a traumatic time in our community … I am horrified and saddened about the targeted attack on Mohammad Kashif in our own city this morning,” read Clark’s statement.
“I am concerned for Mr. Kashif. I am concerned for his young family. And I am concerned for the entire Muslim community.”
“In the past few weeks I have had heartfelt conversations with leaders and friends in the Muslim community about the impact of racist attacks in our city and other cities … This is having a real impact on their sense of safety, well-being, and belonging. It is affecting everyday decisions they are making about whether they go out as a family.”
“This is not acceptable in our city. This is not who we want to be. This is not what I want for the Muslim community, or any community.
The mayor added Saskatoon needs to all stand with Kashif and support his family and all members of the Muslim community.
“We must build a city where everyone is safe to live their lives without fear of being attacked for living out their faith, values, or identity,” read the statement.
“Together we must come to terms with the fact that these threats have been growing, and we must work hard together and fight against this.
“Groups that are spreading white supremacy, Islamophobia and any other form of discrimination need to be investigated and held accountable. We must also confront individual acts of racism and discrimination.”
Police said the investigation is in its preliminary stage with the serious assault unit looking into it with support from the equity and cultural engagement unit.
Anyone with information is asked to contact SPS at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.