EDMONTON — The chair of a group representing Somali Canadians in Edmonton says there has been another local attack on a woman who was wearing a hijab.
Jibril Ibrahim alleges the Somali-Canadian woman was walking by herself in northeast Edmonton on Friday evening when an unknown man grabbed her by her neck and pushed her down to the sidewalk before fleeing the scene.
He says her face was bloodied, some of her teeth are loose and she spent Friday night in hospital.
Police said in an email they are investigating a report of a Black woman in her 50s who was walking in the area at around 9 p.m. when she was assaulted by an unknown suspect.
They said she received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries at a local medical centre and then reported the incident to police.
Ibrahim says the alleged attack, the latest in a spate of similar incidents, has left the woman badly shaken.
"She's traumatized," Ibrahim said in a phone interview after visiting with the woman on Sunday, noting she's afraid now to leave her home alone.
He said she wasn't up to being interviewed on Sunday, and was frightened to appear on camera.
Edmonton has seen a number of alleged attacks on Muslim women in recent months.
City police say two women wearing hijabs were sitting in a mall parking lot in December when a stranger shattered a window, assaulted the passenger as she tried to flee and then assaulted the second woman when she tried to help. A man faces charges of assault and mischief in that case.
In March, a man was charged after three allegedly hate-motivated attacks on women in Edmonton.
In the first, police said the Black victim was followed inside a convenience store on Jan. 18 and allegedly assaulted.
The second and third attacks took place on the same day in early February. One woman was wearing a hijab and the other wore a burqa.
A 44-year-old man faces three counts of uttering threats and three of assault in those incidents.
"What we are aware of is only what has been reported to police. There is more than that, and a lot of people are afraid to report it, afraid that someone is going to follow them to their house," Ibrahim said.
Police said in their email that their Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit has been told about the most recent incident on Friday, but its Investigative Response Team is still handling the case.
The incidents, as well as the deaths of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., earlier this month, have many Canadian Muslims on edge.
Ibrahim says the most recent victim has been in Canada for 30 years, and while she's been harassed in shops and other places, she's never experienced such violence.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced on Friday that groups that experience hate crimes will soon be able to apply for grants to pay for security upgrades.
Ibrahim is calling for the bar for hate crimes to be lowered.
"So far, it looks like more or less, our leadership from the prime minister to the mayor, they're hoping that these people will go away. But it doesn't work that way," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2021.
Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press