Two brothers from Ontario who allegedly assaulted several people, including one man who reportedly remains in intensive care, are the subjects of a hate crime investigation, Canadian police said Wednesday.
On Sunday night, police in the city of Mississauga responded to a fight in a parking lot of a community center. They arrested the two men and filed one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault against each.
“During the assault racially based comments were uttered at the victim indicating the assault may have been a hate-motivated incident,” Peel Regional Police said.
Diana Attar told CNN news partner CBC that she and her husband, Mohammed Abu Marzouk, were in a car leaving a picnic when the men walked nearby.
She told CBC the men shouted at the family, calling them “f—– Arab people” and “terrorists.”
After Marzouk got out of the car, one man punched him in the face, Attar said. She said she and a friend who tried to come help also were assaulted by the men.
“I’ve lived in this country for 39 years, I’ve never faced this … There’s absolutely no doubt. This is a hate crime,” the friend, Fuat Yucel, told CBC. “Islamophobia? It does exist.”
Attar said her husband has facial fractures and had surgery to stop brain hemorrhaging. Marzouk is still in intensive care at a Toronto hospital, the CBC reported, citing the family. A police statement said he is in serious condition but is stable.
“I would have lost him if the police didn’t come, I would have lost him … for nothing,” said Attar, who saw officers near the site of the incident and went to get help.
Attar and Yucel’s injuries were minor, according to police. She told the CBC she was kicked while leaning down over her husband during the attack.
The two suspects appeared at a bail hearing Monday, authorities said. They were released on a recognizance bond, Constable Bally Saini of the Peel Regional Police said.
CNN’s Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.