Canadian teen Noah Rabbani was walking home from his friend’s house around midnight Sunday in Hamilton, Ontario, when two men attacked him with a baseball bat, shattering his skull and knocking out his front teeth before stealing his backpack.
Rabbani, 15, dragged himself to his grandmother’s house where he called his brother to pick him up before beginning to have a seizure, The Washington Post reported. Although Rabbani didn’t remember what had happened at first, he later told police about the attack, which his aunt Salima Hafeez and other family members believe is racially motivated because the teen is Muslim and of Pakistani descent.
Rabbani had to have surgery to repair his skull, and currently has only limited use of his right side.
The 10th grader is described as quiet by those who know him, and he has won multiple academic awards. Now, he can’t write with his right hand and faces a long recovery from his injuries, the CBC reported.
Police are calling the attack a robbery and said they haven’t seen any evidence of any racial motivation, the Post reported. However, Hafeez wrote on Facebook that racial tensions and anti-Muslim sentiment have increased in the area recently.
Some are blaming the recent campaign and election of Donald Trump as U.S. president for the reported rise in crimes against Muslims and other minorities. While hate crimes against Muslims are at a 10-year high in the United States, no statistics are yet available in Canada.
Another of Rabbini's aunts, Huma Aslam, posted on Facebook, “We can’t let these crimes go unnoticed. It cannot become the new norm,” the CBC reported.
A GoFundMe campaign set up to help Rabbani with medical funds had nearly $60,000 in donations by Friday evening.
Police said Rabbani's attackers are two white men.
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