Ontario: Muslim students subject to hate crime

Six Queen’s students are the victims of a hate crime that took place on Sunday, according to Kingston police.

The male students, who self-identify as Muslim, were walking home from Empire Theatres near Division St. and Highway 401 at approximately 1:30 a.m. when they were assaulted by four Caucasian males. The assault itself happened closer to the downtown core, at Fraser and Patrick Streets.

Approximated to be between 18-25 years old, the group approached the students on bicycles, yelling hate-based profanities and racial slurs while wielding a baseball bat.

One of the victims of the attack said they were approached by the males, who were drunk and offering to sell them drugs. “As they turned onto Fraser St. these four guys started chasing [us] who are all Muslim and they started screaming out … foul languages and racial hate speeches,” the student said, adding they originally thought the attackers wielded a machete.

“We were terrified because we thought it was really a machete and the guy was going to literally slit open and kill everyone,” he said. “They caught one guy and they hit him on the biceps and the thigh area, but it turned out to be a baseball bat, not a machete.”

The attack, which Kingston Police have classified as a hate crime, left one student with minor injuries.

Steve Koopman, Kingston Police media relations officer, said police don’t suspect the assailants to be Queen’s students, given the area the assault took place. He added the victims, who were unable to be contacted, had no association with their attackers.

“The fact that they are visible minorities is why we feel it’s a hate-based crime,” Koopman said. “They did not know them … there was no reason for an assault to occur.”

Police are currently investigating and looking for the suspects, one of which was photographed by the students. “We are treating it seriously,” he said. “It wasn’t just a simple assault, as there was a weapon involved with one of the suspects.”

As of Thursday afternoon, the third assailant, a 20-year-old Kingston male, was arrested to be formally charged with Assault with a Weapon, Uttering Threats and Breach of Probation.

The first two accused arrested were Kenneth J. Murphy, 19-years-old, and Clayton R. Lee, 18-years-old. Police are still investigating and looking to identify, arrest and charge the fourth and last assailant associated with the attack.

Queen’s Journal, 10 October 2013

See also CKWS TV, 10 October 2013