Hamilton police have arrested a man in connection with an alleged hate crime incident in Ancaster that investigators say involved an anti-Muslim attack on two women.
In a media release, Hamilton police say a mother and her adult daughter were walking through the parking lot of a plaza in the Meadowlands at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday when they were almost hit by a vehicle pulling out of a spot.
Investigators say the interaction escalated, with the suspect uttering threats towards the victims while using racial slurs targeting the Muslim community.
Although the victims tried to run away and hide behind some bushes across the street, police say the suspect tracked them down and threatened to kill them once he found them.
Police say one of the victims ran and screamed for help and when witnesses intervened, the suspect fled the area.
On Tuesday afternoon, police issued an update saying a 40-year-old Cambridge man has been arrested.
He’s scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday to face multiple charges, including three counts of uttering threats to cause death and two counts of assault with a weapon.
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The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) released a statement on social media on Tuesday, saying it was “deeply saddened” to hear of another attack on Muslims seemingly motivated by Islamophobia.
The women were wearing hijabs at the time of the incident, according to the NCCM, which also shared a statement from the family, who is requesting privacy at this time.
“We are shaken but unbroken after the attack on our family,” reads the statement.
“Let us be clear: this individual attempted to terrorize our family. While we cannot share many details in light of an ongoing criminal investigation, we can generally say what happened last night. An individual drove dangerously up to our family members. He swore at them. He cursed them with a number of racist and Islamophobic slurs. He threatened to murder them. He tried to tail them home in his vehicle.”
Fatema Abdalla, communications coordinator with the NCCM, said they’ve been receiving reports about Islamophobic attacks across Canada following the horrific terror attack in London that targeted a Muslim family while they were out for a walk.
“Most recently, in the last month, it seems as though there’s a new attack every week,” said Abdalla.
“Enough is enough. It’s about time that we turn these calls into real, tangible change in policy and action.”
A National Action Summit on Islamophobia is scheduled to be held on July 22, and Abdalla said the council hopes it will result in meaningful action on behalf of all levels of government – federal, provincial and municipal.