CALGARY — A Calgary man is shaken, and a community shocked after he says he was attacked for having a Palestinian flag on the back of his car.
“He came for me, and he told me to come out, and hitting, and pokes in the glass.”
Tamar Abu Hassira moved from Gaza to Canada three years ago – seeking the safety he thought Canada would offer.
His wife and children — they arrived just two months ago. This, they say, was not the welcome they expected.
In the video, you can see Hassira trying to drive away as a man pulls up behind him, but then Hassira is cut off and forced to stop.
That’s when the man gets out of his pickup, and starts harassing Hassira – calling him derogatory names, including “terrorist” several times.
As he goes to leave the scene, he punches Hassira’s window, and rips off his windshield wiper – before telling Hassira “I’m following you buddy.”
Police are looking into whether this was more than a road rage incident – the suspect has been charged with mischief to a vehicle.
But, the investigation is ongoing.
“I have spent a lot of the morning talking to our community members, our community contacts, just because the mischief offense was laid yesterday, does not preclude any other offenses coming forward,” said Hate Crimes Coordinator with the Calgary Police Service Const. Craig Collins.
Members of the Palestinian community have rallied around Hassira – saying they’re confident this was driven by the fact that he had a Palestinian flag in his window.
Something he’s scared to drive with now.
“The Palestinian community is quite shocked with what happened to Tamer Abu Hassira, not only was he threatened, we believe he was abused,” said Immigration Consultant and Palestinian community leader Reyad Abusalim.
In the meantime, Hassira hasn’t left his property, neither has his wife. And, he’s kept his kids home from school.
He says he left his home in Gaza for a safer life for him and his family.
“Where is the peace in Canada? Where is the peace in Canada?” Hassira said.
He says he won’t feel comfortable going back out into the city with his family until the police investigation is complete.