March 22, 2023

When the sickening assault was over, Mohammed Abu Marzouk’s cranium had been fractured greater than 10 instances.

Moments earlier, Abu Marzouk, his spouse and two younger daughters had settled of their automobile and have been about to move residence after having fun with a summer season’s day picnic with household and mates in Mississauga, Ontario, west of Toronto.

Simply then, two males walked by. “F**king Arab folks! Terrorists,” the pair shouted. “You did not see us?” They kicked the automobile.

Abu Marzouk bought out. He tried speaking to the indignant strangers. That is when the onslaught started. First, they punched Abu Marzouk. He fell. They kicked his head – repeatedly. A good friend tried, in useless, to cease the beating. He was crushed, too.

Abu Marzouk’s spouse, Diane Attar, pleaded with the assailants. “Please do not contact him, please do not harm my husband. I’ve two little ladies, please do not harm my husband,” she mentioned.

They saved kicking. Attar noticed a police cruiser close by. She flagged it down for assist.

Attar started to hope. As she cradled her husband, the louts kicked her too. The couple’s youngsters cried, fearful that their father was lifeless.

By now, blood was in every single place, 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 possibly deadly bleeding and strain constructing inside his mind and head. He survived. The thugs have been arrested and charged.

Attar advised the CBC that the sudden, unprovoked horror her household had suffered in July 2018 was proof that “hate is alive” in Canada.

Certainly, it’s.

Final yr, a federal research discovered that hate crimes focusing on Muslims in Canada had jumped by 71 p.c in 2021. The variety of recorded assaults grew from 84 incidents in 2020 to 144 in 2021.

The figures, nonetheless interesting, solely inform a part of the unsettling story.

The research failed to deal with 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 take care of Muslim victims of hate much less significantly than assaults on different non secular teams?

I believe the reply to the primary query informs the reply to the second.

Regardless of the completely satisfied 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. This can be a refined, nearly well mannered, type of Islamophobia whose cynical purpose 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 residence, 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 “snatch linethat inspired “old-stock Canadians” to tell on Muslim Canadians engaged in what he and his odious authorities labeled “barbaric cultural practices”.

The province of Quebec adopted predictable swimsuit by passing Invoice 21 which, within the handy title of “secularism”, banned public servants from carrying 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 ladies dwelling and dealing in Quebec have reported being spat on, referred to as “a grimy immigrant”, having their hijabs ripped off, and being almost 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 referred to as him a “f**king Arab” and a “terrorist” escaped being charged with a hate crime. Ultimately, the police concluded that the ambush had been “hate-motivated”.

That not-so-curious hesitancy was beautiful incredulity after a choose dominated lately that whereas the pair have been responsible of assault, he was not satisfied that that they had supposed to kill Abu Marzouk. So, he acquitted them of tried homicide.

This, regardless of the testimony of a police officer who advised the courtroom that the assault was “essentially the most grotesque occasion” he had ever witnessed.

The officer additionally testified that he drew his firearm as a result of he thought the kicking “may 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 probably 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.

But it surely 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 commonplace prevailed even after an avowed white supremacist assassinated six worshipers 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, in line with the Crown prosecutor who opted to cost the attacker with first-degree homicide slightly than any terrorism-related offences.

“Pursuing terrorism fees…would have despatched an vital 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 reduce 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 discovering 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 advised reporters gathered outdoors a courthouse in late January, a big scar nonetheless distinguished on the again of his head.

“I nonetheless encourage each Canadian to face towards hate as a result of Canada has no place for hate,” Abu Marzouk mentioned.

Sadly, for a lot too many Canadians, it does.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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