Man arrested and charged in anti-hijab incident in Edmonton

THE Edmonton Police Service said on Wednesday it is investigating a road rage incident that occurred Sunday evening and which may have been racially motivated.

At approximately 6 p.m. on April 25, 2021, patrol officers responded to an alleged road rage incident near the intersection of Fort Road and 122 Avenue.

While travelling with his family north on 82 Street just past 118 Avenue, a male driver became aware of another motorist in the lane next to him. It was reported to police that the accused male made a profane gesture to the complainant’s wife, who was wearing a hijab, in the front passenger seat, and then proceeded to threaten the complainants with his vehicle.

The male complainant ignored the accused and continued driving along 82 Street. The accused male then began speeding up and slowing down erratically next to the complainant’s van, before eventually causing a minor collision between the two vehicles.

A male friend of the complainant who was travelling behind his vehicle, reportedly observed the reckless driving of the accused. All three vehicles then pulled into a business parking lot, where the complainant and his friend attempted to exchange licence and insurance information with the accused male.

It is alleged the accused male refused to exchange information then uttered religious slurs at the driver and his family. The accused then assaulted the primary complainant’s friend, before fleeing the location before the arrival of police. The male that was assaulted was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. EPS members later arrested the accused male at his residence. Andrew Brown, 34, is charged with assault causing bodily harm, careless driving and various other traffic infractions.

The EPS Hate Crimes and Violent Extremism Unit has since been consulted, and is also recommending that Section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada be applied in this case, allowing the courts to consider increased sentencing when there is evidence the offence was motivated by hatred.

The EPS said it has also reached out to leaders of the Muslim community to keep them informed.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) expressed its deep concern about the attack.

“These continued attacks against members of the Edmonton Muslim community need to end. We’ve supported numerous victims since December, and will be reaching out to the family in this incident – but this needs to stop,” said Fatema Abdalla, NCCM communications coordinator. “We need to see the province step up and create a bipartisan provincial-municipal action plan. We’ve seen the City of Edmonton step up recently by passing a new motion around street harassment – but more needs to be done.”