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Man charged after alleged attack on Muslim woman aboard Toronto subway train

Toronto police say a 47-year-old man has been arrested and charged with two criminal offences for allegedly assaulting a Muslim woman on the TTC last week. (Robert Krbavac/CBC - image credit)
Toronto police say a 47-year-old man has been arrested and charged with two criminal offences for allegedly assaulting a Muslim woman on the TTC last week. (Robert Krbavac/CBC - image credit)

A  man has been charged after allegedly assaulting a woman who police believe was "targeted because of her Muslim faith" on a Toronto subway train last week.

In a release, police say the 47-year-old was arrested and charged Thursday with obsession of a dangerous weapon and assault with a weapon.

"Police would like to thank the members of the public who provided information leading to his arrest," police said.

According to police, the woman was on Line 1 heading southbound from Vaughan Metropolitan Station, when she was approached by a man. The man began talking to her and then pulled out a knife, police said.

The woman ran from the subway at Wilson Station, before police were called.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims has said the woman, who was wearing a hijab, ran across several subway cars and stopped when a bystander helped her by pulling the train's emergency alarm.

The organization said the man asked the victim several questions about Muslims and Islam, and hypothetical questions about what she would do if someone hit her head and got away with it.

It added that the man said, "You know what we do with people like you," before pulling a large knife out of his backpack.

The group called the incident a "brazen Islamophobic attack" on a young Muslim woman, and said it's not the first such incident on public transit.

In the case of hate-motivated offences, police say they will consult with the Crown. If the accused is charged and convicted of the offence, the judge will consider hate as an aggravating factor when imposing a sentence.

The accused will appear in Toronto court virtually on Friday.