NCCM STATEMENT: ABU MARZOUK CASE HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR SUSTAINED SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS OF HATEFUL ATTACKS
January 31, 2023
(Mississauga, ON) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) welcomes the verdict today against two men who assaulted a Muslim family over four years ago in Mississauga, Ontario. In addition to the guilty verdicts, the judge specifically noted that the crimes were carried out with hatred for Arabs, or anti-Arab hate.
Mohammed Abu Marzouk, then 39 years old, was driving his wife and children near the Mississauga Valley Community Centre on July 15th, 2018 when he was beaten viciously by two men who also yelled racist and Islamophobic epithets towards him and his family.
Abu Marzouk lost consciousness due to the attack and sustained life-threatening injuries. His wife, who wears the hijab, was also kicked. Their kids saw the attack happen and have been deeply traumatized.
The two men, who are brothers, have been found guilty of aggravated assault and assault, and not guilty of attempted murder this morning at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Brampton, Ontario.
Though the media cycle had largely forgotten about the Abu Marzouk case after some initial coverage in the summer of 2018, the victimized family, as is typical for many who suffer such attacks, have been struggling for years in the aftermath of the incident.
This is the hidden and unreported reality of suffering an Islamophobic attack in Canada. The difficulties and traumas do not end when the attack ends. Families and victims are subject to years of physical, mental, social, and financial difficulties. They are often left to face these challenges alone as the wider community loses interest in their cases.
“We need to change this pattern of neglect and hardship for survivors of such attacks,” says NCCM Chief Operating Officer Dr. Nadia Hasan. “These survivors deserve help, yet as a country we have not done enough. We have lots of words and condolences, but there needs to be action. Ottawa needs to move forward with a support fund that helps those facing these challenges get back on their feet.”
NCCM has been calling for a National Support Fund for Victims of Hate-Motivated Crimes administered at the federal level to help victims of Islamophobic and hateful attacks return to a sense of healing and normalcy.
NCCM urges Ottawa to take a leadership role and move forward with such a fund.
Mr. Abu Marzouk and his family have thankfully been on the road towards recovery. They represent one case of many throughout Canada as Islamophobia continues to steadily rise in recent years.