November 17, 2015 - 8:30 AM
TORONTO - Police in Toronto are investigating the assault and robbery of a Muslim woman near an elementary school in the city, saying the incident appears "motivated by hate."
The assault came two days after a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., was set ablaze in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead.
Peterborough police are investigating the fire as a hate crime and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assured Muslim Canadians the federal government would work hard to find those responsible.
The Toronto assault took place around 3 p.m. on Monday near the mid-town Grenoble Public School while a woman was on her way to pick up her son.
Police said the woman, who was wearing a hijab, was approached by two men and attacked.
"It was a completely unprovoked attack," said Const. Victor Kwong. "She was punched all over and kicked."
The two men hurled slurs that were "bigoted in nature" at the woman and tried to rip off her hijab, Kwong said.
The woman fell to the ground and was robbed of her cellphone and some money before the two men fled the area, he said.
The entire incident was observed by a witness who called police, he said. The woman was taken to hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Police said they are currently interviewing witnesses, gathering surveillance video from the area and asking anyone with information to contact them.
"There's no doubt that this is hate-motivated," Kwong said, noting that police typically see a spike in such incidents after events like the attacks in Paris.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for attacks Friday in Paris that sent shock waves around the world.
French officials say the attacks were carried out by disaffected French Muslims under the supervision of a Belgian who had fought in Syria.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015