London, Ont. mayor won't tolerate discrimination in his city
Third publicly reported incident involving racial slurs in the past eight months
An alleged racially charged attack on a London, Ont. man over the weekend prompted the city's mayor to call out hateful discrimination in his community.
Matt Brown said he is saddened by Saturday's assault that left an exchange student with a concussion. The man involved, Mohammed Sharifi, told CBC News two men yelled several racial slurs before repeatedly punching him in the face.
This latest attack is the third publicly reported incident involving racial slurs in the past eight months, including when vandals spray painted hateful comments on campaign signs during the federal election last year.
"It's deeply saddening to see that an attack like this occurred in London, or anywhere in Canada," Brown said. "There's no reason for this man to feel threatened while spending a quiet afternoon in our downtown core."
Call for charges
London police charged two 24-year-old men in connection with the assault that took place outside the Covent Garden Market. A police spokeswoman said Crown attorneys will determine whether the assaults fall within the parameters of a hate crime.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims want to see charges that reflect the racist comments allegedly said during the attack. The group's spokeswoman and human rights educator, Saleha Khan, called out police in a news release issued Wednesday.
"We call on the authorities to prosecute the perpetrators of this unacceptable act to the fullest extent of the law," she said.
'Absolutely not tolerated'
Talking about the latest incidents, Brown recognized the need to take a stance against all types of intolerance.
"We need to make our community a safe and inclusive environment for all and that's regardless of things like race, gender, sexual orientation — anything," he said. "Hate crimes will absolutely not be tolerated in London. They shouldn't be tolerated anywhere across the province or across the country."
Khan echoed the mayor's comments, saying the community needs to stand up to such discrimination.
"We cherish our cohesive communities and celebrate our diversity," she said. "Such attacks have no place in our neighbourhoods."