Hijab wearing Black Muslim woman attacked in Edmonton

Jibril Ibrahim, president of the Somali Canadian Cultural Society

Edmonton Police are investigating a report that a Somali Canadian woman who was wearing a hijab was attacked last Friday night, the latest in a series of attacks on Black and racialized Muslim women in recent months.

Jibril Ibrahim, president of the Somali Canadian Cultural Society (SCCS), said the Edmonton woman who is in her 50s, was grabbed by her neck and pushed down to the sidewalk by an unknown person while she was out for a walk near Edmonton’s Northmount neighbourhood at about 9 p.m.

“She was just walking on this street in the evening just to get a little bit of fresh air,” Ibrahim said Sunday. “And all of a sudden, someone just grabbed her by the neck and she was thrown on the ground.” 

He says her face was bloodied, some of her teeth are loose and she spent Friday night in hospital. The woman was wearing a head covering, said Ibrahim, who is also a close family friend and received a first-hand account of the attack from the woman when the family phoned him in the middle of the night.  Edmonton Police Services say the case is being investigated.

The woman received treatment for non-life-threatening injuries at a local medical centre and then reported the incident to police, Maran said.

LRT Station in Edmonton,

The woman is now resting at home, but she is scared to go out, and traumatized by the incident, he said. She wasn’t up to being interviewed, and was frightened to appear on camera, Ibrahim added.

At least six hate-motivated attacks on Black and racialized Muslim women have happened in Edmonton in recent months. 

The first was reported in December, after a man attacked two Somali women wearing hijabs outside Southgate mall. 

Since then, a number of other victims have reported being pushed, beaten, screamed at and in some cases their lives were threatened. 

“Hate doesn’t start with killing. It starts with harassment. It starts with looking at people in a certain way, making them feel uncomfortable,” Ibrahim said. “We need to look into those definitions and come up with solutions.” 

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced last Friday that groups that experience hate crimes will soon be able to apply for grants to pay for security upgrades.