SkyTrain attack on Muslim teen inspires fear, anger and forgiveness

Racists attacks like the incident earlier this week sow fear in the community, especially when the victim is young and female, say local Muslim leaders.

“It’s such a terrible disappointing thing to happen and terrifying for the young woman who was accosted,” said Haroon Khan, trustee at Al Jamia Masjid Mosque in Vancouver. “Women outwardly show their faith and modesty with the hijab and this guy became unhinged and assaulted her. It’s an assault on all people.”

Eighteen-year-old Noor Fadel was riding the Canada Line SkyTrain wearing a hijab on Monday when a man accosted her, screaming insults and threats to kill “all Muslims.” When he attempted to grab her head fellow passenger Jake Taylor intervened.

“Incidents like this are upsetting and it makes you feel real anger,” Khan said.

Overtones of racism and Islamophobia in the public arena are encouraging the far right and strike fear in immigrant and religious communities, he said.

“The overall rhetoric out there seems to embolden this kind of thing,” he said. “You can look back at this past summer and the uptick in neoNazism. You see these characters out there fanning the flames of hatred, putting out racist pamphlets. Those things are very real.”

Far-right extremism has flared up around the world and in Canada, according to a recent paper co-authored by Ryan Scrivens, a member of the International CyberCrime Research Centre at SFU.

The World Trade Center attack distracted anti-extremist agencies from other threats, he argues.

“The focus, especially after 9/11, was on violent Islamist terrorists instead of the far-right. We just don’t focus our energy on domestic right-wing extremism,” he told Vice magazine.

There was also disappointment in the Muslim community that only one passenger stood up for Fadel.

“I hope most of us learn from this incident that keeping silent is as good as helping the attacker,” said Ajaz …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

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