'He was being racist,' says Pakistani Muslim woman allegedly assaulted by Toronto Uber driver
Muaida Mughal said she was told to 'just keep quiet' because of her race, religion and gender
A woman who alleges she was assaulted by her Uber driver Saturday evening says the incident may be motivated by her race, religion and gender.
"I was not expecting anything like this," Muaida Mughal told CBC News.
Mughal says she called an Uber for herself, two of her female friends and one of their kids hoping to catch the ferry at the Harbourfront. When the driver arrived, she said he did not look to be in a good mood.
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"I was like, 'Okay, maybe he was having a bad day,'" she says.
Mughal says the driver started complaining about not making money driving for Uber.
"He said, 'I am not making much money, I'm losing money,'" she recounts. "Every five minutes, 'I'm losing money, I'm losing money.'"
"I said just drop me to my location, and please don't talk to me, you're annoying me, I don't like it."
Mughal says the driver made what she claims to be racist remarks after she and her friend began having a conversation in Urdu.
"He was being racist and he said, 'I know you are Pakistani Muslim woman, and you just keep quiet,'" she says.
When her friend told the driver to drop them off "as soon as possible," Mughal alleges the driver started driving erratically, which caused the child in the car to cry. She also says the driver continued driving a few blocks past the original destination before stopping and turning off the car.
Mughal says she asked the driver to turn around, but he refused and began taking pictures of her, which she objected to.
"He was saying, 'I'm going to email Uber,'" she says. "I started getting upset, I said, 'You are not allowed to take my picture, you must delete what picture you took.'"
Mughal alleges the driver proceeded to get out of the car, pull her out of the passenger seat and throw her on the ground.
"He dug his nails into my arm and he poked me with his charger," she says.
The altercation was recorded by her friend and police were called. She says she was taken to the hospital for X-rays and was found to have a fractured finger. She also says she has limited mobility in her left arm.
Toronto Police Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu told CBC News earlier that the driver was charged with two counts of assault. He was taken in to custody on Saturday and released the same day.
"Maybe he was thinking Pakistani Muslim women cannot speak up," says Mughal. "That's not the case."
'They have to work on their system a lot'
Mughal says Uber needs to improve their vetting process for drivers and security protocols.
"[The driver] doesn't know the law," she says.
Uber has to "pre-screen the driver, they have to tell the laws, they have to give some customer service training, how to talk to the customer, how to behave with them."
"They have to work on their system a lot."
Uber spokesperson Kayla Whaling told CBC News in a statement the driver has been removed from the platform.
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"The actions by this driver-partner are unacceptable and fail to meet our expectations at every level," reads the statement. "We are reaching out to everyone involved to understand what may have caused this situation to get to this point."
However, Mughal says she has not been contacted by the company.
"They have my account, they have my email address, maybe they will contact me," she says.
Mughal, who says she frequently used Uber, won't be taking the service anymore.