A hate crime incident in Hamilton in which two Muslim women were threatened has triggered outrage, condemnation and calls for action on Islamophobia.
Hamilton police say the mother and her adult daughter were nearly hit by a car in a parking lot at the Meadowlands on Monday night.
Investigators allege the driver began yelling at them, uttering threats and using anti-Muslim racial slurs, and when they tried to run away and hide, police say he tracked them down and threatened to kill them.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a tweet on Tuesday, saying he was “deeply disturbed” by the reports.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger called it a “blatant display of hate and Islamophobia in our city.”
In a video posted to Twitter, Hamilton police Chief Frank Bergen praised the bystanders who stepped up to help, calling their actions courageous.
He added that the police service stands with the Muslim community and offered assurances that all hate-based crimes will be fully investigated.
Andrea Horwath, Ontario’s NDP leader and MPP for Hamilton Centre, said her heart is with the women involved, calling it a “hateful attack” and calling for urgent government action to fight Islamophobia.
A 40-year-old Cambridge man has been arrested and is charged with three counts of uttering threats to cause death and two counts of assault with a weapon.
The president of the Hamilton Downtown Mosque has confirmed that it was two family members of Imam Kamal Gurgi who were the victims of the attack.
“We are gravely concerned for the safety of our Imam’s family and the whole community in light of continuing social media threats,” wrote Murshid Abdallah, the president of the mosque’s board of directors, in a post shared to Facebook on Wednesday morning.
“We call on our community members to be vigilant and report any threats to the Hamilton Police.”