A video that appears to show a man and a Muslim woman arguing on a Montreal city bus is the latest indication of racial tensions boiling over in Quebec.
The exclusive video was obtained by Huffington Post Quebec and is said to have happened on the afternoon of Aug. 28 on the 69 Gouin bus. In it, the man tells the woman, who is wearing a hijab, to go back to her country. The person who filmed it said the altercation lasted between five and 10 minutes, until the man got off the bus.
Similar expressions of anti-Muslim sentiment took place in other parts of Quebec around the same time.
A mosque in Saguenay, Que., was vandalized with apparent pig blood in early September.
As well, CBC News learned Monday of a public confrontation between a Muslim family and an older francophone woman. Badia Senouci and her husband and son were in a shopping centre when a woman approached Senouci and told her to change her religion. The situation culminated in the woman spitting on Senouci’s son, according to Senouci.
Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, said these are not isolated incidents. “It’s not a surprise for us at all,” Majzoub said. “We are receiving a lot of reports, people complaining about racist comments, about aggression, about stereotyping.”
He said that these kinds of incidents aren’t new for Montreal and Quebec, but his organization has witnessed a notable hike in incidents. He told CBC’s Daybreak about an incident in which a Quebec woman who converted to Islam was kicked. “We believe it’s related to the proposed bill,” Majzoub said.
The proposed charter of Quebec values, unveiled by the Parti Québécois government last week, has sparked massive controversy in the province and across the country.
Majzoub said he and his colleagues are encouraging Quebec Muslims to report incidents to the police, but said many in the community feel doing so would be fruitless. He said Muslim women in particular have said they don’t feel comfortable going to the police.
“The frustration in the community is increasing,” Majzoub said. He said his organization is advising Quebec Muslims not to react if they’re confronted or even attacked.
See also “Muslim woman in hijab harassed on Montreal bus; Quebec Values Charter cited in rant”, Huffington Post, 17 September 2013