When the sickening assault was over, Mohammed Abu Marzouk’s cranium had been fractured greater than 10 occasions.
Moments earlier, Abu Marzouk, his spouse and two younger daughters had settled of their automotive and have been about to move dwelling after having fun with a summer season’s day picnic with household and buddies in Mississauga, Ontario, west of Toronto.
Simply then, two males walked by. “F**king Arab folks! Terrorists,” the pair shouted. “You didn’t see us?” They kicked the automotive.
Abu Marzouk obtained out. He tried speaking to the indignant strangers. That’s when the onslaught started. First, they punched Abu Marzouk. He fell. They kicked his head – repeatedly. A buddy tried, in useless, to cease the beating. He was overwhelmed, too.
Abu Marzouk’s spouse, Diane Attar, pleaded with the assailants. “Please don’t contact him, please don’t harm my husband. I’ve two little ladies, please don’t harm my husband,” she mentioned.
They stored kicking. Attar noticed a police cruiser close by. She flagged it down for assist.
Attar started to wish. As she cradled her husband, the louts kicked her too. The couple’s kids cried, apprehensive that their father was lifeless.
By now, blood was in all places, spilling like an open faucet from Abu Marzouk’s ears and pooling round his shattered head. Quickly, he would fall right into a coma.
Later, surgeons eliminated a part of Abu Marzouk’s cranium to attempt to staunch the doubtless deadly bleeding and stress constructing inside his mind and head. He survived. The thugs have been arrested and charged.
Attar instructed the CBC that the sudden, unprovoked horror her household had suffered in July 2018 was proof that “hate is alive” in Canada.
Final yr, a federal research discovered that hate crimes focusing on Muslims in Canada had jumped by 71 % in 2021. The variety of recorded assaults grew from 84 incidents in 2020 to 144 in 2021.
The figures, nonetheless appalling, solely inform a part of the unsettling story.
The research failed to handle two cussed questions. What accounts for the disturbing spike within the hate-motivated crimes Muslim Canadians have needed to endure? And why do the Canadian police, prosecutors and courts seem to cope with Muslim victims of hate much less significantly than assaults on different non secular teams?
I feel the reply to the primary query informs the reply to the second.
Regardless of the joyful pretence that Canada is an accepting place, Muslim Canadians are nonetheless largely handled because the “different” by suspicious journalists and politicians who exploit and leverage their sinister “doubts” into an viewers or votes. It is a refined, nearly well mannered, type of Islamophobia whose cynical goal is to boost spurious questions on their loyalty to the maple leaf.
Then there are, in fact, the blunt, overt examples of Islamophobia that reinforce the calumny that regardless of calling Canada dwelling, the nation’s Muslims will all the time be thought of fanatical outsiders.
It was not that way back when the previous prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, was the proud architect of a “snitch line” that inspired “old-stock Canadians” to tell on Muslim Canadians engaged in what he and his odious authorities labelled “barbaric cultural practices”.
The province of Quebec adopted predictable swimsuit by passing Invoice 21 which, within the handy identify of “secularism”, banned public servants from sporting hijabs and different non secular symbols.
Doubt and suspicion of Muslim Canadians – inspired and stoked by the careless and irresponsible – have translated into harassment and violence.
Within the wake of Invoice 21, Muslim girls dwelling and dealing in Quebec have reported being spat on, known as “a unclean immigrant”, having their hijabs ripped off, and being practically run down by a pick-up truck pushed by, I collect, a tolerant Quebec secularist.
Canada is turning into a harmful place for Muslims and the police, courts and politicians are, it appears, loath to confess both that truth or their very own culpability.
Initially, the 2 bigots who booted Abu Marzouk’s head like a soccer ball and known as him a “f**king Arab” and a “terrorist” escaped being charged with a hate crime. Finally, police concluded that the ambush had been “hate-motivated”.
That not-so-curious hesitancy was gorgeous incredulity after a choose dominated not too long ago that whereas the pair have been responsible of assault, he was not satisfied that they’d meant to kill Abu Marzouk. So, he acquitted them of tried homicide.
This, despite the testimony of a police officer who instructed the court docket that the assault was “essentially the most ugly occasion” he had ever witnessed.
The officer additionally testified that he drew his firearm as a result of he thought the kicking “would possibly kill” Abu Marzouk and that the attackers had refused his repeated instructions to “get on the bottom”, the CBC reported.
Lastly, and maybe most outrageously, whereas Justice Fletcher Dawson acknowledged that the assault was doubtless motivated by hate, he believed it to be “anti-Arab, not anti-Muslim”.
How Justice Dawson arrived at this weird reasoning is – to place it charitably – unclear.
Nevertheless it confirms the troubling reality that when Muslim Canadians are the casualties of hate and terror, the police, prosecutors and courts are sometimes reluctant to treat them as casualties of hate and terror.
Unsurprisingly, the identical double customary prevailed even after an avowed white supremacist assassinated six worshippers in a Quebec Metropolis mosque in 2017.
On the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the premeditated bloodbath as a “despicable act of terror” and the provincial police investigated it “as a terrorist act”.
Not so, based on the Crown prosecutor who opted to cost the attacker with first-degree homicide reasonably than any terrorism-related offences.
“Pursuing terrorism fees…would have despatched an necessary reassurance that Muslims are seen as equal victims of terror,” Ihsaan Gardee, the then-executive director of the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims, mentioned in a press release
That message was despatched belatedly within the wake of the homicide of 4 members of the Afzaal household who have been lower down like bowling pins by a terrorist in a truck whereas out on a night stroll in London, Ontario in 2021.
The accused terrorist has been charged with 4 counts of first-degree homicide, one depend of tried homicide and related terrorism fees.
In the meantime, Mohammad Abu Marzouk welcomed Justice Dawson’s certified findings of guilt. He mentioned the ache and scars on his thoughts, soul and physique will all the time linger.
“The ache will keep, nothing will erase it,” he instructed reporters gathered outdoors a courthouse in late January, a big scar nonetheless outstanding on the again of his head.
“I nonetheless encourage each Canadian to face in opposition to hate as a result of Canada has no place for hate,” Abu Marzouk mentioned.
Sadly, for much too many Canadians, it does.
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.