The suspect then reportedly attempted to rip off the victim’s hijab and, once it was askew, began tearing at her hair. Finally, she left the area but not before the victim snapped a few pictures of her.
In the photos, the woman stands with her face contorted with anger. She’s pointing an accusing finger at the camera. In one, her mouth is gaping, her eyes are narrowed and one hand is balled into a fist — the picture of hatred.
“We would like to find out ourselves what … the motive was,” London Police spokesman Sandasha Bough told CBC. “After that, then we will continue with the investigation. It’s definitely very concerning for anyone to be assaulted for no apparent reason.”
The victim sustained minor injuries.
It’s the second aggression against Muslims in Canada since the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting observed by Muslims around the world.
The other occurred around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
A man had finished praying at the Quebec City mosque. As he opened the door to leave, he noticed a package on the doorstep.
It must have looked like a nice present at first glance, with bushy ribbons decorating the top, accompanied a note with the words “Bonne appétit” written in thick, black capital letters.
A closer look would reveal an odd detail: The picture of a pig, exposing its underbelly in a seductive sprawl, the kind bikini models long ago made famous.
An even closer look would reveal it to be a grotesque package.
Wrapped in the crinkly cellophane, under bright bows, was a bloody, fleshy mass: A severed pig’s head, still dripping fluids. Observant Muslims do not consume pork and leaving a pig’s head at a mosque has become an all-too frequent gesture of hate among anti-Muslim bigots across the globe. A similar incident occurred in Philadelphia last year.
The president of the mosque did not appear worried about catching the perpetrator.
“It is a waste of time, money and energy. We have high-definition cameras,” Mohamed Yangui told CBC. “We will certainly find the person who did this.”
Yangui thinks it’s an isolated incident — he said this happens about once a year — and he thinks the mosque has a good standing in the community.
“We love everyone,” Yangui said. “We have no problem with anyone and we respect people. We hope it’s mutual. And we are always here to give the image of the good Muslim to all Quebecers.”
Others, though, feel differently.
“I’m tired, I’m exhausted. I am hurt and I’m disappointed,” Saleha Khan of the National Council of Canadian Muslims told CBC. “Part of me doesn’t want to give up hope, because if I give up hope, I’ll probably curl up and never want to come out in public. You just sort of buckle down and say, okay, I’ve got more work to do now.”
At an open house held Sunday in Quebec City to discuss relations between Muslims and the community, Jean-Yves Duclos, the federal minister responsible for the Quebec City region, condemned the act.
“Any form of intolerance, hatred and unjustified incomprehension has to be condemned,” he said. “We must continue to promote inclusion and integration.”
Both investigations remain open.