Go back to your country Man charged in alleged racist assault at

Sanober Faruqi witnessed the attack on Hedayat Ullah, a Bangladeshi gas station worker, who was assaulted at his on Sunday in what he describes as a hate crime. A 45-year old man is charged with mischief and assault after what onlookers allege was a racist assault on a gas station employee on Sunday.Hedayat Ullah, who manages a Shell station in the north end of Saskatoon, said a random passerby suddenly punched him in the chest when he was at work, yelling “Go back to your country” and telling him he did “not deserve to be here.”“Honestly, I was scared,” Ullah said. The man continued to yell at him and a Filipino customer, Ullah said. He backed away from the scene and into the gas station to call police. CCTV footage shows the man pursued Ullah into the station.Ullah said he told the man he is in fact a Canadian citizen. Footage then shows the man knocking over displays of chocolate bars and reaching over the till, possibly trying to punch Ullah again. He then grabbed and ripped out the drawers from both cash registers before leaving the station.He was later arrested and appeared in provincial court on Monday morning.Sanober Faruqi, a regular customer who witnessed the incident, immigrated to Canada from Pakistan 12 years ago. She said she was shocked by the scene, but it’s not unfamiliar to members of her community. Matt Smith / Saskatoon StarPhoenix “I was shivering,” she said. “I’ve heard different stories in my community about racist incidents, but I didn’t believe it because it never happened in front of my eyes.”The rate of hate crimes reported to police in Saskatoon has fluctuated in recent years but peaked last year at 11, a five-year record for the city. Experts warn those figures understate the extent of the problem because they depend on whether the crime is ever reported to police, which victims of hate crimes are sometimes afraid or unable to do.A survey conducted by Statistics Canada in 2014 found 17 per cent of immigrants to Canada said they had experienced discrimination.The incident left staff feeling afraid and unsafe.Harjit Singh is a 20-year-old student from India who arrived in Saskatoon three weeks ago. Sunday was his first day on the job at the station. Now, he’s afraid to go back, he said.“I don’t want to go back there anymore. I don’t think I can work there.”Ullah said the alleged attack also left him on edge.“Honestly, I’m not feeling safe right now in my workplace,” Ullah said. “Because I’m thinking, when will he come back and attack me?”Ullah said he hopes the man is explicitly charged with a hate-motivated assault.In Canada, criminal charges of inciting hatred are rare, brought in cases where the accused advocates genocide, publishes hate propaganda or calls for violence against a group of people.“Hate-motivated” crimes are more common, but are still difficult to prove in a court setting.Dr. Barbara Perry, director of the Centre on Hate, Bias and Extremism at the Ontario Institute of Technology, said in a June interview with Postmedia that the “founded” rate for hate-motivated crimes is largely unknown, although experts and observers believe it to be quite low.“We really don’t have any way of telling how often that section is used. It’s not tracked at all,” Perry said.The man is scheduled to return to court on Wednesday. The officer who filed the case requested that a mental health assessment be conducted.In the meantime, Ullah said he hopes speaking out about the incident will send a message.“If this thing happened in Canada, I’m worried about security for my kids. My daughter, she’s in Grade 10. If she faces this, what will happen?” he said. “Canada is not for this. Canada is for everybody.”zvescera@postmedia.comtwitter.com/zakvesceraRelated Sask. among provinces with the lowest reported hate crimes ‘Words matter’: Following New Zealand shootings, Sask. human rights commissioner urges hate-speech provisions Victim of alleged gay bashing calls for education, not violence Saskatoon police remind public which crimes to report online

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