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York Region man charged in homophobic hate attack

York Region police have charged 33-year-old Umair Ahmed Qurashi with assault and mischief after a homophobic attack at a McDonald’s drive-through.

York Region police have charged 33-year-old Umair Ahmed Qurashi with assault and mischief after a homophobic attack at a McDonald’s drive-through.

According to the 24-year-old victim, Jacob Montgomery Gal, Qurashi allegedly yelled homophobic comments at Gal, who had a rainbow sticker on his vehicle. 

Quarashi later allegedly physically attacked Gal when confronted about his comments. 

A video of the incident was posted on Gal’s facebook in which he confronts Qurashi about the slurs. 

“So this guy likes to shout out f****t to me, so why don’t you say it to the camera?” says Gal in the video before the man lunges out of his car at Gal and knocks his cellphone from his hand. 

Officers arriving at the scene found that Gal had suffered minor injuries from the attack. After identifying Qurashi, police officers later arrested him at his home.

“York Regional Police will always respond, and lay charges where warranted, for behaviour that targets someone solely because of their sexual orientation or any other reason that is motivated by prejudice or hate. Such incidents are unacceptable and have no place in our community,” said police chief Eric Jolliffe. 

The police are investigating the motivation behind the attack as a potential hate crime according to a spokesperson.

“I’ve been to South Lake hospital for a check-up and x-rays. My nose was just bloody but not broken, and I’m physically okay,” wrote Gal in a Facebook post following the incident.  

Qurashi is expected to appear in a Newmarket court on November 22 to address the charges. 

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