Toronto police are asking for the public’s help to identify a suspect accused of pulling a knife on a Muslim woman on a subway train.
On March 9, the woman was on the southbound subway from Vaughan Metropolitan Station when she was approached by a man and engaged in conversation shortly before 5 p.m, police said in a news release on Wednesday.
The man then became agitated and pulled a knife, prompting the woman to flee the train at Wilson Subway Station, according to police.
“Investigators believe the victim was targeted because of her Muslim faith,” police said.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) released a statement on the incident earlier this week and said the man was asking several “hypothetical questions” about Muslims and Islam to the woman, such as “what she would do if someone hit her head and got away with it” and “you know what we do with people like you?” before threatening her with a large knife pulled from his backpack.
READ MORE: A woman wearing a hijab allegedly had a knife pulled on her at a Toronto subway station: NCCM
“This is a brazen Islamophobic attack on a young Muslim woman who was just trying to
go about her everyday life,” Nadia Hasan, COO of NCCM, said in a news release on March 13.
“This is not the first time we have seen an Islamophobic attack on a Muslim woman who wears a hijab on public transit. There is a problem in this country where spaces that most Canadians take for granted simply aren’t safe for Muslim women and people of colour. The recent spate of attacks on the TTC is alarming. It’s time for change,” she added.
Police have released a photo of the suspect. He is described as being 50 to 60 years old, with a thin build, and a long white beard. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie, dark baseball cap, black leather jacket, green military style pants, and carrying a green backpack.
Police believe he is armed and dangerous. They say if located, do not approach him and immediately call 911.
Anyone with information is being asked to contact police at 416-808-3200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously.