Two Muslim women were the targets of hate-motivated assaults in Edmonton on Wednesday, police said.
The Edmonton Police Service's Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit is investigating two separate assaults on the same day.
A 19-year-old Muslim woman wearing a hijab was at the University of Alberta's transit centre at 12:10 p.m. when a man approached her and made "racial comments" before he became more aggressive, "posturing as though he was about to assault her," EPS said.
An ETS employee intervened and the man fled.
Investigators and U of A security are reviewing surveillance video, police said.
A 27-year-old woman wearing a burqa was walking in the area of 100 Street and 82 Avenue just under an hour later when a man ran across the road, blocked her path and began swearing and yelling insults at her.
He left, but moments later, the man came up from behind, pushed the woman to the ground and made threats to kill her and tear off her burqa, EPS said.
The man then left the area.
Investigators are treating the attacks as separate incidents right now.
“These recent attacks, in addition to the December attacks at Southgate [Centre], all happened in public areas and in daytime, which shows an extremely alarming trend threatening the safety of the Muslim community,” said Sgt. Gary Willits of the Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit. “We recognize the impact and trauma of these attacks are significant to the victims, their loved ones, and the broader community. We will be working closely with community leaders to seek solutions.”
EPS encourages witnesses of hate-motivated attacks to call police immediately and, if it's safe, help victims until officers arrive.
Anyone with information about these attacks is asked to call police at 780-423-4567 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.