Muslim women are living in fear because of the Recent verbal and physical attacks on them in Edmonton, Alberta and it calls for urgent action.
In Canada – Dunia Nur the community organiser in Edmonton, Alberta said she was out to buy paint and was talking in Somali to her aunt over the phone when an unknown man at the shop humility told her to “speak English”.
When Nur tried to get out of the place, they blocked her path.
“He was offended at the fact that I was speaking my language, I tried to move and then he blocked me.” Nur, the president and co-founder of the African Canadian Civil Engagement Council, told Al Jazeera.
Though the incident did not go further, Nur said it left her unsafe
Some days ago, a Muslim family was killed by a driver in London, Ontario, which police said was spurred by anti-Muslim hate.
Nur said has left many members of the community feeling afraid to leave their homes.
In late June, two sisters, Muslim women who wear hijabs, were attacked by a knife-wielding man on a path just outside the city.
On another occasion, Muslim women have been knocked to the ground while out on a walk or threatened while waiting for public transportation.
“We had a town hall meeting where many women came out and stated that they have previously been attacked with knives, they have been told to go back to their homes, they have experienced a lot of gender-based violence and hate-motivated crimes – it just went unreported,” Nur said.
“Muslim Black women are being attacked and they are being attacked because of anti-Black racism and they’re being attacked because of Islamophobic rhetoric and they are being attacked because they are women… I feel like right now we’re at a point that we’re not sure what’s going to happen to us when we go outside.”
A police statement said. “The City, the Edmonton Police Service, and the Edmonton Police Commission have responded with a work plan outlining 70 different actions that are responding to the issues identified. A more comprehensive strategy will be coming forward in early 2022,”
But despite all measures, activist Wati Rahmat said “Muslim women are in fear” in Edmonton.
“I have had friends who have conversations about whether they should be changing the way they wear the hijab, or take off the hijab, or go out with a friend, or not go out,” said Rahmat, who founded Sisters Dialogue.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), also called for street harassment laws to be bolstered, as the recent attacks on Muslim women in Alberta have taken place in public.
“These women were either on their daily walks or they were at a park or an LRT station or some form of a transit station,” Abdalla said, adding that NCCM receives calls every week about verbal abuse targeting the Muslim community members across the country.
“It’s instances like these that we need to prevent from happening so that they no longer lead to such devastating attacks as the one that we have seen in London, Ontario,” she said.
In the meantime, Muslim community leaders are taking steps to try to stop the unlawful act on their own. Noor al-Hendy the director of communications at Edmonton’s Al Rashid Mosque, organised self-defence courses for Muslim women this year.
“We need international attention and solidarity because we can’t do this on our own and our public officials are failing us. We need international help and intervention,” Nur said. “We’re not okay. We are not okay.”
She called for international organisations like the United Nations to urge Canada to take urgently respond