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A look at some recent attacks on Muslims in Canada

Four members of a Muslim family were killed and a child was seriously injured after police say a man intentionally drove a truck into them while they were out for a walk Sunday evening. Police say he targeted them because of their faith.

The latest statistics from 2017 show an increase in police-reported hate crimes against Muslims in Canada. There was a jump to 349 cases — a 151 per cent increase — from the 139 cases recorded in 2016. However, Statistics Canada says about two-thirds of hate crimes across the country go unreported.

Here is a look at some recent attacks on Muslims in Canada:

Quebec City mosque attack:

Six people were killed and 19 seriously injured when a gunman burst into the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City in January 2017. The shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder, and he received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 40 years. Last November, his parole ineligibility period was reduced to 25 years, which the Quebec government says it is appealing to the Supreme Court.

Toronto mosque stabbing:

A member of a west-end Toronto mosque died after being stabbed in the neck outside the International Muslim Organization in September 2020. Guilherme (William) Von Neutegem faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, 58. Police have said the two did not appear to know each other. The mosque asked police last October to investigate the death as a hate crime. The head of the Toronto police homicide squad said shortly after the stabbing that while investigators had no immediate evidence it was motivated by hate, it was a possibility. 

Edmonton parking lot attack:

Police have said two women wearing hijabs were sitting in a car in a lot at Southgate Mall in Edmonton on Dec. 8, 2020, when a man came up to the passenger side and began screaming. They said the man shattered a window, then chased and knocked the passenger to the ground as she tried to run away. The second woman tried to help, but she was also pushed to the ground as she tried to stop the assault. Richard Bradley Stevens, 41, has been charged with two counts of assault and one count of mischief.

Edmonton hate-motivated charges:

Police arrested and charged a 44-year-old man in March 2021 with three hate-motivated attacks on women in Edmonton. Shane Edward Tremblay, who has no fixed address, faces three counts of uttering threats and three of assault. Police said the first attack took place on Jan. 18, when a man uttered threats against a 43-year-old Black woman outside a convenience store then followed her inside the store and assaulted her. The other attacks against two Muslim women took place on Feb. 3. One was at a transit centre, where a 19-year-old woman wearing a hijab was approached by a man who made racial comments and became aggressive but left when a transit employee intervened. The other took place about 30 minutes later along Whyte Avenue, where a 27-year-old woman wearing a burqa was pushed to the ground and threatened.

Family attacked in London, Ont.: 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack that killed four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., and left one child in hospital an act of terrorism. After observing a moment of silence for the victims, Trudeau spoke in the House of Commons on Tuesday and called the assault "a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred." Police said a man intentionally drove a truck into the family as they were out for a walk Sunday evening, and that he targeted them because of their faith. Nathaniel Veltman, 20, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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