Edmonton police are investigating after a girl carrying a hijab was assaulted Tuesday on the Southgate LRT station — the second high-profile assault in seven days towards Muslim girls carrying headscarves.

Each assaults had been at Southgate Centre, a mall at 51st Avenue and 111th Road in south Edmonton. On Dec. 8, two girls carrying hijabs had been assaulted within the car parking zone.

Premier Jason Kenney condemned the assault on Twitter, saying it’s “fully unacceptable, it’s revolting, it’s un-Albertan.”

Leela Sharon Aheer, minister of tradition, Kaycee Madu, justice minister, Rajan Sawhney, minister of neighborhood and social companies and the Alberta Anti-Racism Advisory Council issued a joint assertion condemning the incident. 

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson denounced the assaults as “heartbreaking” and mentioned “the accountability to sentence racially motivated behaviour falls on all of us.”

A 32-year-old girl has been charged with assault with a weapon in Tuesday’s unprovoked assault on the mall’s LRT station, police Chief Dale McFee mentioned Wednesday.

McFee mentioned the sufferer — a 23-year-old Black girl — had simply entered the southeast doorways of the Southgate LRT station round 10:45 a.m. when she was accosted by a stranger.

The accused repeatedly tried to strike the sufferer within the head with a procuring bag whereas yelling racially-motivated obscenities at her, McFee mentioned.

The sufferer ran away whereas the attacker tried to “thwart her escape,” McFee mentioned. A transit peace officer on the scene intervened and referred to as police.

Hate crimes unit investigating

The Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council obtained a letter from Edmonton police on Tuesday, confirming an investigation by the EPS hate crimes unit.

Within the letter, which was obtained by CBC Information, police mentioned the assault “seems to be racially and hate-motivated.” 

Rene Ladouceur, 32, is charged with assault with a weapon and 9 excellent warrants for unrelated prices.

In an announcement issued Wednesday, police mentioned the EPS Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit can also be recommending that Part 718.2 of the Felony Code of Canada be utilized on this case, permitting the courts to think about elevated sentencing when there may be proof the offence was motivated by hatred.

Police mentioned the 2 incidents on the Southgate Purchasing Centre usually are not believed to be associated. 

McFee denounced the most recent assault and mentioned police are working with the sufferer and her household.

“It isn’t one thing we ever wish to see in our metropolis,” he mentioned. “It will now proceed earlier than the courts and hopefully we’ll see this handled accordingly.

“This stuff won’t ever will probably be acceptable and people who select to do that to different members our neighborhood are going be held accountable.” 

Assaults ‘occurring out of hate’

Council president Faisal Khan Suri, president of the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, mentioned the council has additionally been involved with the sufferer of Tuesday’s assault, and her household. 

“The suspect had swung on the particular person,” Suri mentioned. “She form of ducked out of the best way, so she didn’t get hit. However there was … one or two tries, makes an attempt to assault the person.”

He mentioned there was a troubling rise in Islamophobia and racism within the metropolis. 

“They’re being focused by their identification, what they present,” he mentioned. “These are hijab-wearing girls whose identification may be very seen, and what’s occurring is going on out of hate.” 

Within the Dec. Eight incident at Southgate Centre, Edmonton law enforcement officials responded to an assault in progress within the car parking zone round 3:40 p.m.

Officers had been informed {that a} man approached two Somali girls carrying hijabs sitting of their car and commenced yelling racially motivated obscenities at them.

Witnesses informed police the person then punched the passenger-side window, shattering the glass. Fearing for her security, the passenger ran from the car and the person chased her, then pushed her to the bottom and commenced assaulting her.

The second girl tried to assist and was additionally shoved to the bottom earlier than bystanders intervened and stopped the assault.

Following an investigation by the Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit, Richard Bradley Stevens, 41, was charged with two counts of assault and one depend of mischief.

Police mentioned the investigation into the Dec. Eight case is ongoing. 

There’s undoubtedly worry as a result of this might be anybody’s daughter, sister, mom.– Faisal Khan Suri

In an announcement on Fb on Tuesday, the Muslim affairs council thanked the Edmonton Police Service for its “immediate motion” within the newest investigation and urged neighborhood members to be vigilant of their private security.

Edmonton’s Muslim neighborhood is on edge, Suri mentioned.

“These are a few completely unprovoked incidences,” he mentioned. “Unequivocally horrendous and horrific for anybody to expertise.” 

“There’s undoubtedly worry as a result of this might be anybody’s daughter, sister, mom.”

Premier, mayor condemn assaults

On Twitter, Kenney mentioned it’s “irritating to see one other occasion of hate-motivated violence” in Edmonton.

“Because the authorized course of takes place, we hope to see justice swiftly rendered for the sufferer of this crime,” the premier mentioned.

Throughout a information convention Wednesday, Iveson described the assaults as heartbreaking and unacceptable. “I condemn these assaults within the strongest phrases,” he mentioned.

The mayor mentioned the town stays dedicated to bettering commuter security with extra safety officers, surveillance cameras and new crime reporting instruments. Nonetheless, he mentioned low ridership through the pandemic has introduced added challenges.

When the system was full, Iveson mentioned, there was “pure accountability.”

“Along with all the cameras, you’d have actually the eyes of Edmontonians on one another. And that does create a specific amount of accountability and compliance.”

Iveson mentioned the town will proceed to work with neighborhood leaders in an try and confront racism in all its types. 

‘It’s heartbreaking as a result of it’s not my thought of Canada, and it’s undoubtedly not my thought of Edmonton. However that hatred does linger and fester in all communities and must be referred to as out for what it’s.”

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