Edmonton woman speaks out after 'hate-motivated assault' earlier this week
EDMONTON -- A 19-year-old Muslim woman is now speaking out after she was a victim of what police are calling a "hate-motivated assault" this week, although she said she almost didn’t report what happened.
She told CTV News Edmonton this type of thing happens often.
She was wearing a hijab while was waiting inside the transit centre at the University of Alberta when she was verbally attacked.
According to Edmonton police, an Edmonton Transit Service worker intervened, and the man ran away.
In a statement she said “A man came up to me, unprovoked, and began making inflammatory comments and threats, very explicitly because I am racialized and visibly Muslim.”
She was shaken by the incident, and because she fears for her safety, CTV News has agreed not to identify her.
“It’s just so ugly. That’s what it is. It’s so ugly,” said Dr. Muna Saleh, an assistant professor at Concordia University.
“There’s no one way to be a Muslim woman, but for those who do wear hijab, we are more visibly targets for those who have a hatred, racialized, gendered, misogynistic, violence towards us.”
The young woman agrees saying "These events should not be understood as perpetuated by a few bad apples; many people like myself have accepted these incidents as normalized parts of our existence.”
Saleh said the transit worker who intervened preventing a possible assault on the young woman is a hero.
“Making sure that that woman is safe and that she has somebody there for her even if just saying ‘I hope you’re okay,’ that would be huge. Just for that person to know that they’re not alone.”
That same afternoon, police say a 27-year-old Muslim woman was assaulted and threatened. It’s the fourth attack since December.
“The City of Edmonton, the Alberta government should really be focusing on is this is now becoming a trend and we really need to get to the root of it ASAP,” Saleh said.
In the meantime, she’s urging victims of these types of hate crimes to report them.
“I’m a firm believer for the right for women to wear whatever they want to wear. Women of all faiths, backgrounds.”
The woman agrees saying “The longer that hatred like this is normalized, the more damage that is done.”
The EPS Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit is investigating both incidents.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson.