Police treating attack on Toronto Muslim man as hate crime

OTTAWA, Ontario — An attack on a Muslim man in a Toronto suburb is being investigated by police as a hate-motivated crime, Canadian police said Wednesday.

Const. Danny Marttini of the Peel Regional Police said that Mohammed Abu Marzouk was assaulted in a community-center parking lot by two men.

Janis Corhamzic, 19, and brother Adem Corhamzic, 27, were arrested at the scene Sunday and charged with one count each of aggravated assault and two of assault.

"We've heard from media reports that the two men who perpetrated the incident were shouting at the family, calling them terrorists, etc.," said Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).

Abu Marzouk's wife Diana Attar told Canada's CBC in an interview that part of her husband's skull had to be removed by surgeons after the attack.

Peel police released an annual report in April that noted anti-Muslim incidents in the southern Ontario jurisdiction had risen from five to 57 between 2016 and 2017.

The report also said there was a 168 percent overall increase in hate-motivated crimes during the same period, which could be partially due to better case documentation.

However, Gardee said, "NCCM has noted for some time now a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment. It's coming at a time as well where we see a rise in far-right extremism and anti-immigrant sentiment."

He pointed to a small right-wing rally held last weekend on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

A number of similar rallies have also reportedly taken place across the country in recent years.

According to Statistics Canada, there are more than one million Muslims in the country.

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