June 7, 2020 – A 17-year old Muslim teenager wearing a hijab was assaulted on a bus in downtown Vancouver, Canada on May 21. The transit police have launched an investigation and are requesting the public’s help in identifying the assailant after releasing images of the woman.
According to Metro Vancouver Transit Police’s news release, the victim and her mother were confronted by a female passenger regarding her ethnicity and her Canadian status. After having made a comment to the effect of “your smile is making me want to punch you in the face,” the passenger proceeded to punch the victim several times and partially knocked off her hijab. The two were later separated by the teen’s mother and another passenger.
A good samaritan followed the assailant off the bus while calling 911. The assailant, after noticing that she was being followed, began assaulting the good samaritan before pulling out a knife. The good samaritan kept their distance and the assailant fled from the scene.
The suspect is described as possibly an Indigenous woman, approximately 40 years old, 5’8 and weighing around 140lbs. At the time of the assault, she was wearing a black hat, dark sunglasses, dark top with the word “Pink” written on the back, blue jean shorts and black boots, and was carrying a silver reflective backpack.
“There is no place for hate, racism or biases on the transit system” said the Transit Police in its news release. “All passengers using our transit system have the right to travel without fear of harassment or assault. Metro Vancouver Transit Police would like to speak to anyone with information about the identity of this suspect or who witnessed this incident.”
Should you recognize the woman, we urge you to contact Metro Vancouver Transit Police’s tip line at 604-516-7419 or by text at 87-77-77 and refer to file 2020-9802.
The incident is hardly the first of its kind in the area. A similar incident occurred almost three years ago in Vancouver’s SkyTrain public transit system, where an 18-year old Noor Fadel was harassed by a man screaming insults, attempting sexual assault and threatened to “kill all Muslims.” When he tried to grab her head, a fellow passenger, 21-year old Jake Taylor, intervened. The assailant was arrested and charged with assault and threatening to cause death or bodily harm.