EDMONTON — A man faces charges after an alleged assault on a Muslim woman near a mosque in Edmonton, a city that has seen several similar assaults in recent years.
Edmonton police say Jeffrey Hill, 34, has been charged with mischief under $5,000 and uttering threats.
“Investigators have also recommended that Section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada be applied in this case, allowing courts to consider a heavier sentence where there is evidence that the offense was motivated by hate.” police said in an email Tuesday.
“(The Edmonton Police Service) continues to provide support to the family through its crime and trauma-informed support services.”
In a statement, the National Council of Canadian Muslims said it was deeply disturbed by the attack, adding that “the growing number of Islamophobic attacks in Alberta is alarming.”
Other attacks in Edmonton in the past two years include a brutal assault on a mother and daughter in a mall parking lot, an encounter in which a man threatened to rip off a woman’s burqa and kill her, and an attack by a masked man wielding a knife on two sisters in their twenties wearing hijabs.
The organization provided more details about the January 1 attack, saying a man spat on a Muslim woman’s car window, punched her repeatedly, made threats and damaged the property of the mosque before returning to the scene with a shovel.
It allegedly happened while the woman’s children were inside the car, the organization said.
“(The National Council of Canadian Muslims) has supported many victims in Alberta since last December, and we continue to call on the Government of Alberta and the various municipalities in the province to take urgent and immediate action,” said Omar, an advocacy officer from Alberta. for the organization, said in the statement.
“We need to see the province mobilize alongside the city and create a bipartisan provincial-municipal action plan. Everyone has the right to feel safe in public spaces, regardless of background.
The organization said it will continue to monitor the investigation and is in contact with Edmonton police.
During his swearing-in speech in October, Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi highlighted the large number of assaults, particularly against Muslim women and the city’s Asian community.
“It’s important to me and to this council that we build…a city where everyone can…walk free of harassment, free of racism,” said Sohi, who is Edmonton’s first mayor of color, at the time.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 25, 2022.
Daniela Germano, The Canadian Press