News / Edmonton

Muslim community 'very fearful' after seeing rise in hate incidents

Edmonton man Mohamed Rahall said a gathering of people with Confederate flags has fuelled concerns about growing anti-Muslim rhetoric here at home.

Mohammed Rahall, on left, said a gathering of people with Confederate flags at a northside Tim Horton’s Monday has raised concerns about growing anti-Muslim rhetoric here at home.

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Mohammed Rahall, on left, said a gathering of people with Confederate flags at a northside Tim Horton’s Monday has raised concerns about growing anti-Muslim rhetoric here at home.

Some Edmonton Muslims are increasingly concerned for their safety, following violent incidents in the United States and the United Kingdom—and now, a confrontation at a north side Tim Hortons.

In a Facebook post that has been shared over 300 times, Edmontonian Mohamed Rahall said a gathering of people with Confederate flags at the Tim Hortons Monday has fuelled concerns about growing anti-Muslim rhetoric here at home.

In the post he describes driving up to the store after breaking his Ramadan fast, when he noticed about 10 people standing outside their vehicles with the flags.

This was in Castledowns, a neighbourhood with a large Muslim population, shortly after evening prayers, and he said a group of what he described as “mostly Muslim kids” showed up in response.

“I honestly feared that something bad was about to happen,” he said in the post, citing the recent death of Nabra Hassanen, 17, who was beaten to death after prayers in northern Virginia Sunday, in what police there have called a road rage incident.

He said he stepped in to try and get the Muslim kids to go home.

“I felt compelled to do that, with everything going on.”

Edmonton Police Service confirms that they responded to a report of vehicles congregating in the Castledowns neighbourhood around 2 a.m. and dispersed the group.

No charges were laid, but the hate crimes division was notified due to the "distinct nature" of the group.

Lidia Handous was also at the Tim Horton’s Monday, and said she’s also been shaken by recent events.

“I’m very, very fearful. I don’t like where this is going … It’s getting closer because of what's been happening in the States. And we almost live in a bubble here in Canada,” she said. 

She said she’s increasingly concerned for visible Muslims, such as her mother, who wears a hijab. She is urging Muslims and non-Muslims alike to speak out against incidents of hate.

Rahall said he worries about his younger brother, who is 12.

“I worry sometimes dropping him off at school. I’m tearing up even thinking about it. This is affecting my right to live in a safe environment.

“We can’t just trust that everything is going to be ok.” 

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