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More bystanders reporting hate crimes: Calgary police

Last Updated Jun 16, 2021 at 8:30 pm MDT

CALGARY — A Muslim woman walking with her children in the middle of the day in downtown Calgary was verbally accosted by a middle-aged white man in what police believe to be a hate-motivated incident.

“It’s quite a concern for everybody that this is on the rise and people are expressing their hate,” said Syed Soharwardy, the founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

WATCH: Calgary police are investigating a possible hate-motivated crime in Calgary’s downtown core. 

Soharwardy says, on the other side, more people are standing up against hate.

He’s encouraged by the actions of good samaritans and the Calgary police. In this case, it was a bystander who called the incident in.

“Our community has become much more educated and has become much more aware of what we term a hate-themed incident and there is more willingness for people to come forward,” said Senior Const. Craig Collins, the Hate Crime Coordinator for the Calgary Police Service.

The hate crimes unit is now searching for the victims instead of waiting for them to come forward.

“It isn’t just the victim that gets affected, it has an extended effect into the community. So we’ve always taken this really seriously,” Collins said.

“I don’t see it as a major shift in policing. I see it as kind of just the next step,” said Doug King, a professor of Justice Studies at Mount Royal University.

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But, Soharwardy calls it the first step and wants to see tighter laws around hate crimes.

“There should not be any tolerance, any leniency towards those people who incite hate or violence towards minorities,” Soharwardy said.

Meanwhile, King says education is key — and more victims coming forward.

Calgary police are asking the victims of Tuesday’s accosting to call them, as well as any additional witnesses, so they can get a clearer picture of what happened and decide what charges, if any, need to be laid.