CALGARY — A Muslim woman was punched, kicked and had her religious head covering pulled in what police are calling a racially motivated attack in Calgary’s Prince’s Island Park.
The incident happened Sunday at around 1:30 p.m. as two young Muslim women were walking along the pathway near the Bow River.
According to police, a 28-year-old woman confronted them with a verbal attack.
Police say the women tried to walk away as racial slurs were hurled at them, but the woman persisted and the attack escalated to physical violence.
One woman was pushed, punched in the face, kicked in the stomach and had her hijab — a headscarf worn by Muslim women — torn off. The second victim wasn’t physically assaulted.
Two men, believed to be associated with the attacker, intervened, allowing the victims to get away and call 911.
With aerial support from the HAWCS police helicopter, Bridgette Serverite was located and arrested in connection with the investigation. The 28-year-old has been charged with common assault, mischief and causing a disturbance in public.
Police are looking to speak with anyone who witnessed or recorded the incident, as well as a Good Samaritan who stayed with the women following the attack.
Canadian Muslim Research Think Tank is asking police and all levels of government to do more to stop crimes like these.
In a release, the group says hate crimes against Canadian Muslims have been on the rise in recent years.
The group adds that it’s a painful coincidence that March 21, the date of the Prince’s Island Park attack, is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racism.
The spelling of the surname of the accused is Serverite, not Severite.