WARNING: This story contains details readers may find distressing.
A 40-year-old man was arrested by Hamilton police Tuesday in what is being investigated as a hate crime after a Muslim mother and her daughter faced racial slurs and threats to their lives.
Police say the mother, 62, and daughter, 26, were walking through a parking lot in the Ancaster Meadowlands area around 9:30 p.m. ET on Monday. A vehicle pulled out of a parking spot, officers say, and almost hit one of them.
The driver uttered threats toward the mother and daughter while using slurs targeting the Muslim community, according to police.
The mother and daughter ran across the street and hid behind some bushes, according to police. Officers say the man searched for them and threatened to kill them when he found them.
One of the women ran screaming for help, police say, and people nearby intervened. The man drove away.
Const. Indy Bharaj, a police spokesperson, said the service is working with the mother and daughter to connect them with resources.
Family is 'shaken but unbroken'
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said in a statement to CBC News it is deeply saddened by the incident and the women were wearing hijabs.
NCCM also shared a statement from the family they received from police and said the family wants privacy at this time.
"We are shaken but unbroken after the attack on our family. Let us be clear: this individual attempted to terrorize our family," read the statement.
"In light of the London attack, this is incredibly terrifying for our family. Enough is enough. The government must commit to taking stronger action. Our family could have been seriously hurt — and we cannot allow these things to keep happening."
The federal government previously announced an emergency national summit on Islamophobia would occur July 22.
Man faces several charges
The accused in the Hamilton incident faces charges for assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, uttering death threats and violating probation.
Const. Krista-Lee Ernst, a police spokesperson, said no further information will be released at this time.
Police are still working on whether surveillance video is available from the parking lot. Bharaj said he wasn't aware of any passenger in the vehicle with the driver.
Police are urging witnesses to come forward and contact the criminal investigation branch's Acting Det.-Sgt. Michael Hall at 905-546-3851.
People can also provide information anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submitting tips online.
Hate crimes in the community can be reported online, or by calling 905-546-4925 or visiting any Hamilton police station.