Muslim group denounces Edmonton LRT incident as ‘hate crime,’ calling it ‘absolutely horrifying’

By Juris Graney
Edmonton Journal | December 7, 2016

The national organization representing Canadian Muslims is calling on Edmonton police to lay hate crime charges against a man after two Muslim women were threatened with a noose on an LRT platform.

Amira Elghaway, communications director for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said the incident on Nov. 8 at the University LRT Station was “absolutely horrifying.”

Cellphone video shot by one of two young women shows a man pulling a rope from his pocket and tying it into a noose before dangling it from his hand while threatening them, saying “This is for you.” He then proceeded to sing the Canadian national anthem.

“For an individual to specifically be walking around with a noose looking for that opportunity to basically instil fear in someone or people is rather troubling,” Elghaway said.

On Tuesday, the Edmonton police hate crimes unit said it had a suspect in custody.

Women wearing hijabs received flowers Wednesday as they waited at the LRT platform where the incident happened.

Organizer Janelle Venne said Canada is stronger when diversity is accepted and Muslim women are welcome and deserve to feel safe.

“A vast majority of Canadians do not support these racist or anti-Muslim acts, but unfortunately it’s the few that, with one act, can send out a very scary message to the community,” said Elghaway.

“That’s why hate crimes are so dangerous in our society because they are not just targeting an individual, they are targeting an entire community.

“It’s a minority of people acting out of ignorance and malice … but this is a public safety issue and it concerns everyone.”

. . .

… Elghaway said there was more anxiety following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.

Among many of his campaign promises, Trump vowed to ban entry into America of all Muslims.

“Whenever Islam or Muslims have been talked about in the public space, we do frequently see a spike in harassment and attacks on Muslim women,” she said.

Elghaway said the national council was encouraging Muslims to report all hate crimes to police and have now started to map incidents across the country to draw attention to the issue.

“What we have been noticing year-over-year since 2013 a steady increase in types of crimes perpetrated against Muslims in Canada,” she said.

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