(Mar 13, 2023 – Toronto) 

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) calls on the Toronto Police Service to investigate a hate-motivated crime that took place on the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) on March 9, 2023 at around 5:00 pm. A woman wearing a hijab was threatened by a man brandishing a large knife between Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station and Finch West Station. The survivor ran for her life across several subway cars until a bystander helped by pulling the emergency alarm on the train. 

The assailant asked the victim several questions about Muslims and Islam, asked her hypothetical questions about what she would do if someone hit her head and got away with it, and told her “you know what we do with people like you” before unsheathing a large knife he pulled out of his backpack. 

“I was just trying to get to Spadina station to meet with some friends. I never thought something like this could happen on public transit in front of all these people. The moment I saw him take out his knife, I ran and ran until I was out of breath and a stranger helped me. I’ve never been so afraid in my life. I hope the police find this man and take him into custody and get him some help so he doesn’t do this to any other Muslim woman again,” said Sara (pseudonym for privacy of the survivor). 

“This is a brazen Islamophobic attack on a young Muslim woman who was just trying to go about her everyday life,” said Nadia Hasan, COO of NCCM. “This is not the first time we have seen an Islamophobic attack on a Muslim woman who wears a hijab on public transit. There is a problem in this country where spaces that most Canadians take for granted simply aren’t safe for Muslim women and people of colour. The recent spate of attacks on the TTC is alarming. It’s time for change.” 

NCCM is calling for the Toronto Police Service to investigate this attack as a hate-motivated crime and urgently apprehend the armed assailant.