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Woman says man shoved her, tried to yank off her niqab outside Charlevoix metro
Montreal police say they are investigating after a 22-year old woman says she was assaulted Monday outside the Charlevoix metro station.
Fatima Ahmad was walking to the metro when she says she was approached by a man who shoved her in the chest and tried to yank off her niqab.
"I was very shocked. I didn't know how to react," said Ahmad.
She believes she was targeted because of her face veil and draws a direct correlation to the Bill 21 hearings about the wearing of religious symbols in some public service roles.
“I received a lot of Islamophobic comments before Bill 21. The majority of the people who used to comment were older white men, this was my experience 95% of the time,” she told CJAD’s Shuyee Lee. “But now with Bill 21, I see this has extended to everyone. I see the older people doing it, the younger people doing it, the men, the women, people of different colours. This was the first time a black man came up to me and said something or did something.”
Ahmad managed to take a picture of the man as she ran after him. She included his picture in the police report she filed.
The McGill education student said she feels Bill 21 has emboldened people to abuse her.
“This is totally not normal from my experience. I am 100% sure that Bill 21 is making people more confidence they can discriminate, abuse and not stand up to injustices,” she said.
“As a Canadian and a Quebecer, I feel totally unwanted. I feel my rights are being taken away,” said Ahmad, who is unsure of what her future holds, because under Bill 21, teachers will not be permitted to wear niqabs in the classroom.
“From all angles, I am kind of stuck,” she said. “I don’t know how to live here anymore.”
The attack happened on the eve of hearings into systemic racism and discrimination in Montreal.
One out of five immigrants in Montreal has reported encountering discrimination in the past five years.