London, Ont. Muslim leader appalled after elderly father was hit by a violent incident in the parking lot

London, Ont. –

What was supposed to be a carefree shopping day turned into anything but for Dr. Rubina Tahir and her family.

“The man kept shouting ‘Go back to your country’ with obscenities,” she explained. She told of an experience she had on Sunday when she and her husband took their elderly father to South London Costco.

“You know, made the situation completely worse, completely heartbreaking.”

Rubina tells CTV News London that while waiting for a parking space in the busy Costco parking lot, another driver became “furious”. She says he got out of his own car and approached theirs. That was when verbal attacks, including racist slander, escalated into a physical attack.

“He knocked on the car window. He reached out and pulled at the wiper blade, constantly screaming, furious. We were shocked. Then he opened the door on the passenger side, grabbed my father’s mask, and then he grabbed my father and he wanted to fight. “

The incident came after Rubina’s brother, Nawaz Tahir, a well-known leader of the Muslim community in London, took to social media to say that his 75-year-old father had been assaulted.

This was followed by a barrage of responses on Twitter, including from Maggie, who tweeted that she is “completely not surprised” and “this city is racist.”

Professor of political science Paul Nesbitt-Larking tweeted “I’m shaken.”

As London City Councilman Stephen Turner said, “your story helps highlight the unspeakable events that occur too often.”

“My dad is older, he’s lame, so he’s not a threat to anyone,” Nawaz said. He says London police first told them they would not pursue charges against the alleged assailant because his father raised his hands after he had been attacked.

“You’re in the heat of the moment, someone has already assaulted you and continues to speak verbally to you in an aggressive tone. So what do you do in those circumstances when you just want to enter the store?”

Nawaz Tahir discusses an attack on his father in the Costco car park in south London, Ont., Monday, November 29, 2021. (Bryan Bicknell / CTV News)

Police later said they were continuing to investigate the incident, and issued this statement on Monday:

“This investigation is active and ongoing. We take incidents like these seriously and can confirm that officers are continuing to investigate this case.”

The parking incident took place in the midst of an ongoing effort to fight back against Islamophobia.

London NDP MPPs call for measures to hold perpetrators accountable. The proposed Our London Family Act follows the deadly attack on the Afzaal family last June, in which three adults and a teenager died after being hit by a pickup truck in what police said was a terrorist attack. A nine-year-old boy survived the attack with serious injuries.

London North Center NDP MPP Terence Kernaghan says Islamophobic and other racist acts have been steadily rising.

“I think we also have to come to terms with the fact that many of these actions are not reported, and I honestly think that is unacceptable. People need to feel safe, they also need to be clear and feel as if they are being heard when reporting incidents like these. ”

Among other measures, the proposed bill will include the establishment of a liability office, which will provide assistance to victims of hate crimes.

Nawaz added that “the justice system really does not help victims of hate crimes by taking the right steps to believe it or prosecute it.”

Meanwhile, if there is any consolation in the disturbing weekend incident, Rubina says it is that a number of people in Costco’s parking lot along with Costco staff came to their aid while the family was under attack.

“We are grateful for the people who were in the parking lot and specifically someone said, ‘They are allowed to be here. This is a family outing.'”

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