Long road to recovery for Muslim father and his family who suffered Islamophobic attack

24th Aug 2018

Mehek Mazhar in Toronto

39-year-old Mohammed Abu Marzouk has been transferred to a rehab centre after his miraculous recovery from an Islamophobic attack that police are investigating as an anti-Muslim hate crime.

He was in his vehicle with his wife and four- and six-year-old daughters, about to head home from a family picnic in Mississauga, just outside of Toronto, Canada, when two men walked by and shouted, “f-king Arab people! Terrorists.” According to his wife, Diana Attar, the men then began kicking the car. Abu Marzouk got out of the car to talk to the men, but when he did, one of them punched him in the face.

Attar begged the men to stop, then spotted a police car and ran to it for help. In a matter of minutes, she returned and found her husband on the ground, blood spilling from his ear and gathering around his head.

The father was rushed to a trauma centre to treat multiple fractures on his face along with brain haemorrhaging, for which he underwent emergency brain surgery.

Ibrahim Hindy, a friend of Abu Marzouk and local Imam, visited him and saw “bruises everywhere.” Hindy noted that his friend’s head was bandaged due to several brain surgeries, one of which removed part of his skull because of the amount of bleeding.

“It was just really difficult to take it all in.”

In a slow recovery, Abu Marzouk started waking up every few hours. His younger brother, Ahmed, made a video in response to an outpour of community support and in it said he was doing much better.

“He still has issues with focusing and has gaps in his memory,” Hindy wrote in a Facebook post about the transition out of intensive care. “But considering how badly his situation could have been, he’s been incredibly blessed.”

While it is uncertain when Abu Marzouk’s injuries will heal, a crowdfunding campaign for the family’s expenses has raised over 140,000 Canadian dollars. Volunteers in the community have also stepped up, cooking meals to deliver to Abu Marzouk’s house daily.

There has also been vital support from local organizations. National Council of Canadian Muslims reached out to Abu Marzouk’s family and helped arrange for them a legal team. At the same time, Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline is arranging for counselling support.

What happened at that summer picnic was “insane, particularly when you think about his daughters who watched this happen,” Hindy said. His friendship with Abu Marzouk started with both of their children, as they are the same age and they play together.

The beating was a traumatizing event for Abu Marzouk’s family as well as his relatives who were at that summer picnic. Naseeha Muslim Youth Helpline reached out to support the six children who witnessed the horrific incident.

In the 2011 census report, Islam was reported to be the second largest practised religion in Mississauga after Christianity, at nearly 12 per cent. In the 2016 report, more than half of Mississauga residents are reported to be visible minorities.

In the last year, hate crime statistics in Mississauga’s surrounding Peel region went up 91 per cent.

Fatima Allidina is a Mississauga mother who does not expect to encounter anti-Muslim hate in her neighbourhood. “You should feel like people are a lot more accepting here,” she says.

Muhammed Abu Marzouk’s incident was one of a series of hate-motivated acts reported in Canada over the last few weeks. On July 17, a man in a grocery store in London, Ontario, was called an “illegal alien.”

On July 23, a family at a Toronto ferry terminal was harassed by a man swearing, pushing and telling them to “get out of his province.” On July 27, an Indian couple in Hamilton was attacked by a man who hit them with his car, threatening to kill their children. On July 29, a Muslim woman in Mississauga had her hijab pulled off by a 35-year-old woman. On July 31, another woman in Whitby was verbally attacked by a man threatening to pull off her hijab.

Leave a Comment

What is 14 + 11 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

Latest Tweets