Police in Hamilton, Ont., say they are “not ruling anything out” after a Muslim teen was robbed in a weekend attack which his family suggests may have been a hate crime.
Hamilton police said Noah Rabbani, a Grade 10 student from Saltfleet Secondary School, was walking near Rymal Road East and Fletcher Road just after midnight on Sunday when two men got out of a vehicle and attacked him.
One of the suspects assaulted Rabbani with a baseball bat and both men fled the scene with the victim’s backpack.
Rabbani, who is a Muslim of Pakistani descent, suffered injuries to his brain, jaw, limbs and spine and remains in the intensive care unit, said his aunt in a Facebook post.
“He is a quiet, kind boy. He’s an exceptional student who wins numerous academic awards including the Kiwanis Youth Recognition Award and is well liked by students and teachers,” Salima Hafeez wrote.
The family said it is appealing for the public’s help to identify Rabbani’s attackers whom police say were white men between five-foot-six and five-foot-eight inches tall.
“The number of race related attacks and vandalism in Canada seems to be increasing in this last month, even as many, like this one, go unreported in the media,” Hafeez said in the Facebook post which has over 9,000 shares.
“We want you to share this message so that our communities start talking about racism and Islamophobia which appear to be on the rise.”
Hamilton police said they don’t believe the assault to be a hate crime but are looking at all aspects of the investigation.
“We always investigate all leads which relates to the offence and anything that has to deal with hate crime. We are not ruling anything out,” Det. Mike Hall said.
Police are asking any witnesses or someone with information on the case to come forward by contacting 905-546-4947 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.