A Pakistani-origin Muslim teenager in Canada was brutally beaten by two men with a baseball bat, leaving him with a cracked skull as his family fear the assault may be a hate crime, CBC reported.
Noah Rabbani, 15, was walking home from a friend's house last weekend late at night in Hamilton, Ontario, when two men got out of a car next to where he was walking. One of the men was holding a baseball bat, a police press release quoted by CBC said.
"The males approached the boy and struck him with the bat several times causing serious injuries... The suspects ran back to the car and left in an unknown direction," the police said.
Hamilton Police Constable Asif Khokhar said an investigation is ongoing and that detectives are "looking at all aspects."
The Saltfleet District High School student was shifted to an intensive care unit and had to undergo surgery to repair a crack in his skull which has left him with impaired movement on the right side of his body.
The teenager was able to reach his grandmother's house a few doors away and provide a brief description of the attackers.
Rabbani's aunt Huma Aslam said the assault came as 'a total shock'.
"Here we are in Canada, the greatest country in the world. I'm just really in shock," Aslam said.
Rabbani's family describes him as a quiet, kind boy and an exceptional student who has won several academic awards.
Considering Rabbani's Pakistani Muslim background, Aslam said the family is worried the assault may be a hate crime, with Rabbani targeted for the colour of his skin. She added that the teen had nothing of real value in his backpack to steal.
"It just seems like all of a sudden after the election in the US there have been more violent incidents in our country," she said. "It's the timing of it all."
"We can't let these crimes go unnoticed," she added. "It cannot become the new norm."