Edmonton

Black woman wearing hijab threatened at Century Park LRT Station

Edmonton police are investigating another incident involving threats against a young Black woman wearing a hijab, the fifth such case reported in a 10-week period.

'In that moment I felt helpless and afraid for my life'

Police are investigating a report of a man threatening a Black woman wearing a hajib at the Century Park LRT Station on Feb. 17. (Google Images )

Edmonton police are investigating another incident involving threats against a young Black woman wearing a hijab.

The woman was at the Century Park LRT Station on Feb. 17 when she was threatened by "a male suspect," police said in a news release Wednesday.

The Edmonton Police Service Hate Crimes and Extremism Unit has met with the woman to confirm details and offer her support, police said.

The incident — the fifth such attack in Edmonton on Black women wearing head coverings in a 10-week period — prompted a call for action from the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

"We need to see EPS take concrete action to address the recent trend of hate-motivated incidents, racism and Islamophobia, particularly against Black Muslim women, through a clear action plan," the council said in a news release Wednesday.

"This may necessitate a review of internal policies and procedures that deal with the reporting of such incidents and intake by police officers."

The council said the woman was approached by a man "flailing his arms" and that he "gestured toward her with a fist, swore at her, and threatened to physically assault and kill her."

The woman was identified by the council as "M.W."

"This incident was traumatizing and has left me shaken," she said in the release. "In that moment I felt helpless and afraid for my life."

She said there was no security present, nor did anyone come to her aid. 

"Though I recognize that the perpetrator may be suffering from his own personal issues, this does not make threats on my life OK."

The woman said she was later helped by an ETS bus driver and peace officers, but "when I contacted the police station in my area, I was not given the support that I needed."

Police said they are reviewing the woman's initial interaction with officers "to ensure our customer service expectations were met."

'I'm deeply troubled,' mayor says

In a social media post Wednesday, Mayor Don Iveson said the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, reported the incident to his office on Feb. 19. 

Iveson said he urged her to call police and contact the National Council of Canadian Muslims. 

"Muslim women deserve to feel safe in our city and I'm deeply troubled that these incidents have engendered fear for M.W. and other women in our city," Iveson said in the post.   

"No Edmontonian should feel that their safety is at risk while taking transit and particularly based on identity or appearance."

On Feb. 3, two Muslim women wearing head coverings were assaulted in separate incidents, one at the University Transit Centre and the other near 100th Street and 82nd Avenue.

On Dec. 15, a 23-year-old Black woman had just entered the Southgate LRT Station when she was attacked by a stranger.

On Dec. 8, two Somali women wearing hijabs were sitting in their vehicle in the parking lot of Southgate Centre when a man smashed their window and assaulted them.

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