Woman’s hijab torn off during protest: Ottawa police investigate

Woman’s hijab torn off during protest: Ottawa police investigate
Woman’s hijab torn off during protest: Ottawa police investigate

A Muslim woman had her hijab forcibly removed during a pro-Palestine demonstration in Ottawa last Tuesday.

The incident took place outside City Hall during the flag-raising ceremony in honor of Israel’s Independence Day. The scene was filmed and widely shared on social media in recent days.

The Hate Crimes and Bias Unit of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) confirms that it is investigating this act, which it considers to be a hate-motivated event. In an email sent to CBCshe says she still has not identified the suspect.

THE SPO is looking to speak to anyone who has more information about what happened on May 14.

Hayfa Abdelkhaleq identified with CBC as the woman in the video. In an interview, she said she was still shaken by what happened.

I feel really depressed. She humiliated me. I can’t sleep normally, I can’t eat normally, I don’t function normallyshe says.

In the video in question, Ms. Abdelkhaleq is seen waving a Palestinian flag while chanting From the river to the sea, Palestine will be freeeither From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free. This slogan is condemned by many Jewish organizations, because according to them, it refers to the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, i.e. almost all of the Palestinian and Israeli territories.

Also in the video, we see another person who then enters the frame and gives the finger to the camera before removing Ms. Abdelkhaleq’s hijab.


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Hayfa Abdelkhaleq poses in a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Ottawa. Before Tuesday’s incident, the woman says she had always felt safe participating in pro-Palestinian protests.

Photo: Courtesy of Hayfa Abdelkhaleq

In an unblurred version of the video reviewed by CBCHayfa Abdelkhaleq’s hijab is removed entirely from her head, revealing her hair.

The person begins to walk away and we see them say something to Ms. Abdelkhaleq, who responds: Shame, shame on you.

The main interested party maintains that the woman had insulted her and told her to go home. She felt scared And shockedand quickly tried to cover her hair.

CBC was unable to identify the other person in the video for comment.

I’m still shocked

Hayfa Abdelkhaleq says she tried to follow the person she saw joining the flag-raising ceremony. She told what happened to a police officer who was monitoring the event.

Shortly after, Ms. Abdelkhaleq filed a complaint and was put in contact with someone from the Hate Crimes and Bias Unit of the SPO. She mentions frequently participating in pro-Palestinian demonstrations and having never experienced such a situation before.

After seeing the video, I am still shocked, she said. I can’t believe this happened, and I don’t want this to happen to any other Muslim girl.

With information from Safiyah Marhnouj, CBC News



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