TORONTO – A horrific beating has led a Muslim father into intensive care in Toronto hospital, in the incident being investigated as a possible hate crime by police.
“They were calling them Arab terrorists, so clearly their religion, their ethnicity was playing a part in that,” Ibrahim Hindy, imam of the Dar At-Tawheed mosque where the Marzouk family are members, told CBC News on Wednesday.
“We have to be concerned about hate against any community, but this is a significant issue that’s happening.”
Mohammed Abu Marzouk, 39, was heading home from a picnic with his family and two daughters, aged 6 and 4, near the Mississauga Valley Community Centre on Sunday night when two men passing behind his car started shouting at the family, “f–king Arab people! Terrorists,” his wife, Diana Attar, said in an exclusive interview with CBC News.
“You didn’t see us!” the pair shouted before allegedly kicking at Abu Marzouk’s car.
When Marzouk got out of the car, he was attacked by the pair severely.
Marzouk was rushed to a Toronto trauma center where he was taken into surgery suffering from a brain hemorrhage and multiple fractures received in the Sunday beating.
Dealing with the incident first as a road rage, police said that new investigations changed the incident into a hate crime.
“We were provided information that the initial incident started as a result of the road rage, a dispute that happened in the parking lot,” Peel Regional Police spokesperson Akhil Mooken said.
“Witnesses subsequently came forward and talked to investigators and provided them with some statements that were made while the incident was unfolding by the two arrested and charged males.”
Two Brampton men, aged 19 and 27, have been charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault, and they appeared in court Monday morning.
Imam Hindy warned that the incident revealed much of the hidden hate in the society.
“We as a society have to start recognizing the fact that hate is alive here. It was a very significant motivating factor in this attack and that needs to be acknowledged in order for it to be dealt with,” he added.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement Wednesday that it condemns “in the strongest possible terms the brutal assault,” and called on authorities to prosecute those responsible “to the fullest extent of the law in order to send a strong message against hate and intolerance.”