Canada police open hate crime investigation after Muslim father brutally beaten
Police in Canada confirmed they have opened a hate crime investigation on Wednesday after a Muslim father-of-two was attacked and admitted to hospital for his injuries.
Mohammed Abu Marzouk, 39, remains in an intensive care unit of a Toronto hospital.
"They were calling them Arab terrorists, so clearly their religion, their ethnicity was playing a part in that," Ibrahim Hindy, imam of a mosque attended by the Marzouk family, was quoted by Anadolu as saying. "We have to be concerned about hate against any community, but this is a significant issue that's happening."
The attack occurred when Abu Marzouk and his wife and two daughters, aged four and six, were returning home in their car. The two suspected attackers allegedly shouted abuse at the family and kicked the vehicle, causing Abu Marzouk to get out.
As the pair attacked Marzouk, his wife ran to a nearby police car to seek help, however found her husband lying on the ground when she returned.
After being rushed to hospital, Marzouk received surgery for a brain hemorrhage and multiple fractures.
Police have charged two brothers, aged 19 and 27, over the attack.
Authorities had initially treated the attack as a road rage incident, however later designated it as a hate crime.
Peel Regional Police spokesperson Akhil Mooken told reporters that witnesses have provided statements to investigators.
According to the National Council of Canadian Muslims, last year saw 70 instances of of Islamophobic hate crimes take place in the North American country, including a deadly mosque shooting which left six people dead.
Data collected by Statistics Canada indicates that such hate crimes against Muslims have drastically risen in recent years, by as much as 253 percent between 2012 and 2015.