A Muslim student at the University of Toronto claims he was spat on and insulted in what appears to have been a racially charged, attempted assault outside Robarts Library.

Osama Omar, 21, says he was attacked while waiting for a streetcar near Spadina Avenue and College Street, after a weekend study session.

“A man approached me, without saying anything at all, he just came up to me and spat directly in my face,” he told CBC News. Toronto has seen a number of racist incidents in the wake of last week’s deadly attacks in Paris, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility. 


He was wearing a topi at the time of the incident; a short, rounded skullcap worn in many Islamic communities.

“He misunderstood it for a turban and told me to take the turban off,” Omar said.

Omar said he again asked the man if there was something wrong or if his topi was bothering him. That’s when the man allegedly started punching at him.

In a panic, Omar backed away. Throughout the incident, he says the man continued to spew profane language and insults at him.

‘Islamophobia is real’

Omar also described the ordeal, and the woman who came to his aid, in a Facebook post.

“As I helplessly looked around, an elderly lady approached. She had seen the entire incident from across the street,” Omar wrote online. “She apologized on behalf of the man, and told me not to take him as a generalized representation of what society has become.”

Despite her kindness, Omar said he was at a loss for words and trembling.

“I’ve had no such experience before,” he said.