VIDEO: Calgary woman racially attacked on vacation near Winnipeg
Two Good Samaritans stepped in to defend Fatima against the racial attack in a Pinawa parking lot by a self-proclaimed Nazi
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Days after Calgary woman Kaniz Fatima — a landed immigrant of eight years — had proudly donned a red and white outfit in celebration of Canada’s 150 birthday, she was told to “go back to your country” by a self-proclaimed Nazi in the parking lot of a Manitoba park.
The early July verbal attack, which was caught on video, shows the man telling Fatima to “take your f**king head towel off."
Fatima said she was asking the man—who hurls the middle finger at Fatima throughout the interaction— for directions while on vacation in Pinawa, Manitoba.
“First we thought we should go back and we got back into our car, but he kept yelling racial slurs at us,” she said. “So, I thought I had to stand up for myself. It’s not right to do that."
Fatima, a Calgary teacher, said she was a little worried the man and his friend would escalate the situation, but after two women passing by stepped in to defend Fatima, she said she felt empowered.
“I felt like a stronger person with their support,” she said. “I felt safer.”
In the video, which has been viewed nearly 2,000 times, the women can be heard asking the man what he’s doing and what his problem is.
“No seriously, this is embarrassing,” one of the Good Samaritans said. “Don’t do that.”
Fatima proceeds to tell the man she loves Canada.
“This is my country,” she said. “I live here. I pay taxes. I have a job.”
“You don’t have to explain yourself,” replies one of the Good Samaritans. “Because you’re just as much a Canadian as he is.”
Fatima said the experience both shocked and traumatized her. She said other Canadians have a responsibility to stand up beside victims of racism and other hate speech to protect Canadian values of inclusivity and diversity.
“That happened that day when those ladies stepped in and that is something I am really proud of,” she said. “That’s real Canada.”
Fatima said she wishes she knew the women so that she could thank them, but said it was impossible to speak with them after the incident as the man continued to verbally attack them for helping her.
“We waited in the car until we knew the women were also safe and then we drove away,” she said.
Although the altercation occurred in early July, Fatima only decided to post it on social media Tuesday evening.
“First I thought I shouldn’t pay it much attention, but the more I thought about it the more I knew it should be reported so that other Canadians — and Muslims – know what is happening so they can be informed and careful,” she said.
Fatima is in the process of filing a complaint with police in Manitoba.
According to STATS Canada of the 10 large census metropolitan areas in Canada, four reported more hate crimes in 2015—including Winnipeg, which saw an increase of 36 per cent (seven incidents).
“In the CMA of Winnipeg, the overall increase was the result of more incidents targeting different races/ethnicities (+9),” said the STATS Canada report.
On Aug. 16, Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman issued a statement regarding anti-Semetic graffiti found in the city, saying that city embraces its diversity.
"I am personally sickened to see this in our city and call on Winnipeggers of all backgrounds to join me in denouncing acts of hate, like this. Together, we can help build an even more inclusive city that everyone can be proud of," the statement read.
Pinawa is 115 kilometres east of Winnipeg.