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Only One Person Stepped In To Save This Muslim Teenager From A Racist Attack On A Crowded Train

A 46-year-old man was arrested and charged over the incident.

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A 46-year-old man has been arrested and charged for allegedly assaulting an 18-year-old Muslim woman on a train in Vancouver.


According to Noor Fadel, the attack happened on a crowded car on the SkyTrain on Monday evening.

"The moment I sat on the train," Fadel wrote in a Facebook post afterward, "this man got up and started to swear at me calling me a whore and a slut [and] telling me he will kill me and all Muslims."

Fadel said the man grabbed her head at one point and shoved it toward his crotch, and that he struck her across the face.

Things could have gotten much worse if another passenger hadn't intervened.

Global News / Via

Jake Taylor told Global News that he saw the older man strike Fadel as other people on the train were simply "watching, sitting there on their phones, kind of cowardly."

“I went over and I gave him a shove, told him to get the F out of here,” Taylor said.

After the man exited the train, Taylor stayed with Fadel as she reported the incident to the authorities.

According to Vancouver's Transit Police, 46-year-old Pierre Belzan was arrested that same night. He has been charged with one count of assault and one count of threatening to cause death or bodily harm. A sexual assault charge is pending.

Fadel's brother, Abdul, told BuzzFeed Canada that the family was shocked to hear about the attack: "This is not something any parent or older sibling would think of happening somewhere like Vancouver, in such a diverse community."

Facebook: noorfadel8

Abdul Fadel said the "saddest part" of the whole thing was that only one person stepped in. He said the attack has left his sister shaken, but that it reinforced the need for people to stand up to hatred and bigotry.

“A take-home message that our family and especially Noor want to send is: Speak up," he said.

“Strength comes in numbers.”

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at

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