Milton's Muslim community is calling for increased protection following the latest attacks against Muslim-Canadians.
Three weeks following the deadly attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont., more anti-Muslim attacks have been reported across Canada.
Attacks targeting Muslims are on the rise in Canada. This past week in Saskatoon a Pakistani- Canadian man was assaulted while out for his routine morning walk. Muhammad Kashif, a resident of the city's Preston Avenue area believes that the attack was motivated by hate. He said his attackers tried to stab him in the back. The knife, fortunately, didn't penetrate his back but left a wound.
"All of us are just shocked and worried — I have no words to explain," said Munira Siddiqui, the 44-year-old Milton mother of two and a member of the Milton Muslim community.
The attacks come weeks after a Muslim family was run down and killed in London, Ontario in a terrorist attack. Siddiqui immigrated to Canada from Karachi, Pakistan in 2018 for a better life for her family. "How many more vigils are we going to attend before Islamophobia is eradicated in our peaceful country?" she added.
Earlier this month in Edmonton, a Somali Canadian woman wearing a hijab was reportedly grabbed by the neck and pushed to the sidewalk. A second attack happened this past Wednesday. Two sisters were attacked, and one of them taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The second woman had minor injuries. The RCMP is investigating the assault this week as a hate-motivated crime.
Tahir Qureshi, a Muslim community activist in Milton, said these recent attacks are affecting mental health of Muslim children. "This is not who we are as Canadians," Qureshi added. "Canada is a welcoming country, and it must be a place of safety for everyone."
"It's terrifying, and It's like this kind of a numb feeling now," said Wasim Khan. "People were locked inside homes due to Covid-19. Now we can't even enjoy a walk in the park. It's not a good thing to have scary feelings,” he added.
A Statistics Canada report says hate crimes against Muslims jumped to 349 cases in 2017 from 139 recorded in 2016. However, the agency says about two-thirds of hate crimes across the country go unreported.
Mohsin Abbas, Local Journalism Initiative, The Milton Reporter
Mohsin Abbas, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Milton Reporter, Milton Reporter