‘Why did you do this?’: Muslim man reels after being attacked while walking home from Saskatoon mosque

Abu Sheikh says he has a simple question for the driver who tried to run him over on the sidewalk. 

“Why did you do this? To an old man, a senior citizen, just going to do his worship,” he said in an interview.

The 66-year-old is still shaken by what happened in the early morning hours of July 13 in front of his Cumberland Avenue South bungalow. 

Sheikh says he was walking home from morning prayers at his mosque. He was wearing a white robe and a traditional hat.

Just as he got to his house, he spotted a white half-ton truck approaching from the opposite direction. It swerved and began coming toward him.

His first thought was that it could be police.

That notion evaporated when the truck jumped onto the sidewalk and began accelerating directly toward where he stood. 

This kind of behaviour can’t be tolerated.– Supt. Dave Haye, Saskatoon police

Sheikh says he flattened himself against the hedge that runs alongside the front of their yard.

“It came to my mind, ‘you are in a very bad situation.’ He confined me with his truck and the bush. I can’t move back and forth,” he said.

Aisha Sheikh and her father, Abu, with the bricks thrown through the windows. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

“I sat down, crawled between the truck and the bush, came to the back of the truck and ran for my house.”

Sheikh has diminished hearing so he couldn’t make out exactly what the driver was yelling but he does recall hearing, “What are you doing here?”

“I was shaking, I couldn’t even answer,” he said.

Sheikh got into the house and called for his son to turn off the lights and call police.

Then he heard a bang. He turned to see their front window smashed and a brick on the floor. Then a second smash and another brick.

Aisha Sheikh lives in San Francisco and believed Saskatoon was a safe haven for her family. (CBC)

Sheikh’s daughter Aisha Sheikh lives in San Francisco and came home after speaking with her father.

She said she’s tremendously unsettled by what happened because she always believed Saskatoon and Canada to be a safe place.

She also has questions for the truck’s driver.

“What’s happened to you? Why would you want to harm an elderly person who hardly can see?” Aisha said.

“How can we help you to understand that we actually just want to be your neighbour.”

City police say they are actively investigating what happened and plan to use the incident to help raise public awareness. Supt. Dave Haye met with the family Friday.

“This kind of behaviour can’t be tolerated and by sharing what’s going on with the larger community and creating awareness is how we fight, or push back, against the intolerance of some people,” Haye said.

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