SURREY, B.C. –
Warning: Disturbing content.
Members of the Muslim community in Surrey, B.C., are on edge after a group of worshippers leaving a local mosque were targeted by an aggressive driver.
They say they were nearly run over by a driver who swore and threw water at them as they left a local mosque Wednesday.
Despite the intensity of the situation, one of the victim’s had the presence of mind to start recording on his cellphone.
The attack happened at 11 p.m. after evening prayers.
The group had just left the Surrey Jamea Masjid when they got into an altercation with a driver near 122 Street and 72-A Avenue.
The four men in the video are on the phone with 911, telling the operator they’ve almost been hit by a car, when the driver of the vehicle suddenly doubles back.
The people inside can be heard yelling obscenities at them before someone in the backseat throws another water bottle out the window.
The B.C. Muslim Association issued a statement saying, “While our first priority is towards making sure our congregants are safe in the aftermath of such a terrifying incident, we are calling on the police to investigate this as a potential hate crime.”
RCMP says it has identified the person who it believes was driving the suspect vehicle, a lime green hatchback.
“While the suspect’s motives are not yet known, this is a very disturbing incident directed at our Muslim community. We will be working to determine motive and want to reassure the community that the incident will be fully investigated,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn, of Surrey RCMP, in a statement.
“The investigation is in the early stages. Investigators are in the process of speaking with witnesses and obtaining video evidence,” wrote Munn.
The BCMA says it’s “gravely concerned,” noting that the men were wearing traditional clothing at the time.
The association says the incident is particularly alarming in light of last year’s terror attack in London, Ontario that killed four members of a Muslim family.
Premier John Horgan condemned the attack on Twitter.
“I’m disgusted by the reports of an attempt to terrorize and harm people outside Surrey Jamia Masjid Mosque as they left prayers. I stand with those targeted and the Muslim community. We must condemn acts of hate and racism wherever we see them,” he wrote.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum also condemned the attack.
“Surrey is a city that proudly celebrates our diversity and is made stronger by it. What happened to the members of Surrey Jamia Masjid Mosque is deeply disturbing and has no place in Surrey,” wrote McCallum in a statement Friday.
The attack took place days before Eid Al-Fitr, the religious holiday marking the end of fasting for Ramadan.
Surrey Jamea Masjid is a hub for the Muslim community and hundreds of worshippers will be in attendance for Friday prayers, many are now on edge about what happened.
Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Andrew Weichel
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