Canada: Two Muslim sisters brutally attacked in Alberta

By Barry Ellsworth


TRENTON, Canada (AA): Police are seeking a suspect after two Muslim sisters in the western Canadian province of Alberta were attacked in what is being called a hate-motivated crime, local media reported Thursday.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a man wearing a mask approached the women in St. Albert, shouting racial slurs and brandishing a knife.

One sister was grabbed by her hijab and thrown to the ground, where she was rendered unconscious. The second was also knocked to the ground and a knife was held at her throat while the suspect continued to yell racial slurs. He then ran away, police said. One of the sisters was taken to the hospital and both sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

A dog was brought in to track the suspect, but he escaped capture and is now the subject of a police search.

According to Edmonton Journal, Izdahar Gaib said her daughters, who are in their 20s, were the ones attacked. They did not wish to be named.

Her eldest daughter was struck in the face and hit her head against a tree, which knocked her unconscious, she said. The younger daughter tried to call police but the attacker knocked the phone from her hands.

“My daughters are traumatized and do not feel safe whatsoever to step foot outside again and have even begged me not to go out either due to the fear that was planted in them,” Gaib said in a text message.

Both sisters are studying criminology at the post-secondary level.

REACH Edmonton, a community safety group, confirmed the sisters work for or volunteer with the organization.

Helen Rusich, a REACH project manager, said the family recently moved to Edmonton from Quebec.

“These young women have dedicated their time and energy to creating a more equitable city for all Edmontonians, by working in the community on issues including anti-racism and civil rights,” she said in an email.

She added the family was harassed online after speaking publicly about a similar attack a year ago.

“Our Muslim neighbors, friends and family deserve to feel safe and welcome in their communities,” said St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron. “I’m heartbroken that many of them are not feeling safe right now.”

The man was described as being about 50 years old, six feet tall and wearing dark jeans, a navy shirt and a red and white bandana.

The Edmonton area has been the scene of several hate-motivated attacks this year, including one where a woman in her 50s was out for a walk when she was grabbed from behind and thrown to the pavement, reported CTV News. In March, a man was charged after uttering slurs against a teenager wearing a hijab.

St. Albert is a city of about 65,000 situated just 12 kilometers (7.45 miles) from Edmonton. Ironically, St. Albert was named by the MoneySense digital magazine as the best place to live in Canada in 2014.

Additional report from Canadian media

[Photo: In another Islamophobic attack in Canada earlier this month on June 6 when Afzaal family were run over by a truck in London-Ontario. Photo shows mourners and supporters gather for a public funeral for members of the Afzaal family at the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario on June 12, 2021 in London, Canada. Photographer: John Densky/AA]

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