B.C. Muslim Association ‘gravely concerned’ after incident outside Surrey mosque

By Nikitha Martins and The Canadian Press

The BC Muslim Association says it is “gravely concerned” after an incident outside a Surrey mosque.

The association says in a letter shared on Twitter by the National Council of Canadian Muslims that a car sped by Ramadan worshippers leaving evening prayers and someone in the vehicle threw a substance.

Surrey RCMP is confirming the incident took place and say the moving vehicle threw water at three pedestrians from the Muslim community walking near 124 Street and 72A Avenue Wednesday just before 11:00 p.m.

The letter dated Thursday says the car sped away but returned and repeatedly feigned trying to run the congregants over.

Mounties say it was reported one pedestrian was almost struck.

The BCMA says pretending to run people over is “not a small matter” after a Muslim family in London, Ont., was struck and killed by a truck last summer in what police have said was a hate-motivated attack.

The association says its first priority is making sure congregants are safe in the aftermath of the incident in Surrey, and it’s also calling on police to investigate it as a potential hate crime.

The police investigation is in the early stages but police have identified someone believed to be driving the suspected vehicle.

Mounties say while the suspect’s motives are not yet known, “this is a very disturbing incident directed at our Muslim community.”

In a series of tweets, the national Muslim council says it’s calling on political leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan to prioritize challenging Islamophobia.

“While action has been taken on some of our recommendations, many of the recommendations we put forward after the London Terror Attack have not been realized,” it says. “We need to do more. And we need to do it now.”


Fareed Khan is the founder of Canadians United Against Hate and tells CityNews Wednesday’s incident is extremely disturbing as a number of incidents targeting the Muslim community across the country come to light.

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But because of the number of concerning incidents, Khan admits he is not shocked.

The latest statistics from 2017 show an increase in police-reported hate crimes against Muslims in Canada. There was a jump to 349 cases — a 151 per cent increase — from the 139 cases recorded in 2016. However, Statistics Canada says about two-thirds of hate crimes across the country go unreported.

Five years ago, six members of the Quebec City mosque were shot and killed by a lone gunman shortly after the end of evening prayers. Since this tragic incident, Khan says leaders of the community have been pleading with governments to take action. However, he says the process has been slow.

“The government … said all the right things, but when it came to taking actual action, there was very little of it,” he said.

Over the years, Khan says, Canadians United Against Hate has put out a series of recommendations, written to the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and MPs.

“Recommendations in that we’ve repeatedly called for — and on which action has not been taken — is that the national government lead a national anti-hate strategy, which includes a huge public education component. And they coordinate it in the same way that they coordinated on the pandemic with the provinces. Hate, bigotry, racism, xenophobia, has literally been a pandemic in this country for decades and it’s been on the rise over the last number of years.”

If the investigation into Wednesday’s incident turns out to be hate-motivated, Khan says he hopes those responsible are charged under hate crime laws, “because unfortunately, Canadian police have a bad habit of not using the hate crime laws in this country.”

Mounties are encouraging people with information or who may have witnessed the incident to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.

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