‘Islamophobia is actual’: Victims of London, Ont. automobile assault mourned at vigil

2021-06-08 17:52:00

Hundreds gathered for a vigil mourning the 4 Muslim members of the family killed in what police say was a focused assault in London, Ont., with politicians and group leaders condemning Islamophobia in Canada and promising change.

Simply earlier than a second of silence, a household pal of the victims spoke a couple of phrases about her younger pal, Yumna, who was killed within the assault.

“My sister wouldn’t have needed us to stay in worry with sporting our hijabs, she would have needed us to be pleased with our identities,” mentioned Yasmin Khan.

“She would have needed us to unite collectively, to face for what is correct, she would have needed us to be type to 1 one other. That is all I ask. Take satisfaction in your hijab and your faith, be humble and be type.”

A press release launched to the media by a household spokesperson names the deceased as Salman Afzaal, his spouse Madiha Salman, their daughter Yumna, and Salman Afzaal’s mom.

The couple’s son, Fayez, 9, survived the assault. He “is on the street to restoration from severe accidents,” the assertion reads.

Nathaniel Veltman, a 20-year-old London man, is charged with 4 counts of first-degree homicide and one depend of tried homicide in reference to Sunday’s assault. London police mentioned Tuesday that they’ve been in touch with the RCMP and wouldn’t touch upon whether or not additional costs could also be laid.

“Whereas we perceive the general public’s want for info, we’re aware that there are severe costs earlier than the courts and that we should let the judicial course of unfold,” they mentioned in an announcement.

Police allege that Veltman was driving a pickup truck that mounted a curb and hit the household, who have been out for a stroll. Police mentioned Monday that they weren’t conscious of any connections between Veltman and the Afzaal household, or any hyperlink between the suspect and arranged hate teams.

Talking within the Home of Commons on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Veltman’s actions as “a terrorist assault, motivated by hatred.”


Canadian political leaders attended the vigil held for the household and mentioned some phrases to the group and mourners gathered in remembrance.

“Islamophobia is actual, racism is actual. You shouldn’t should face that hate in your communities, in your nation. We will and we are going to act,” mentioned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We should all stand collectively and say, no, no, to hatred and to Islamophobia, no to terror and to racism.”

Conservative Chief Erin O’Toole shared an analogous message: that social gathering leaders must put politics apart to cope with Islamophobia in Canada.

“We’ve to commit ourselves to working throughout social gathering strains. With premiers, with mayors, with religion leaders, to finish the type of violence and hatred that took these lives,” he mentioned on the vigil.

“The rise in Islamophobia and different types of hate on this final yr are the pandemic of darkness.”

NDP Chief Jagmeet Singh took to the rostrum amid cheers from the mourning crowd.

“We is not going to let terror win,” he advised mourners.

And like most of the individuals attending the vigil, he emphasised that phrases aren’t sufficient.

“What we have to do now’s actual motion after this act. What number of extra lives should be taken earlier than we act? What number of extra Muslim brothers and sisters should lose their lives earlier than actual change is put in place? We’d like actual motion.”

Inexperienced Social gathering Chief Annamie Paul mentioned that she desires to be a voice for the group after this assault.

“Because the chief of our social gathering, I stand in solidarity and I additionally promise you this, that my voice will probably be your voice. I’m not there to impose my agenda, I’m there to mirror what you inform me you want at this second. That’s my dedication to you.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford additionally spoke to mourners on the vigil. He thanked those that rushed to the scene and first responders and known as the assault terrorism and a hate crime.

“We all know solely that this terrible crime was motivated purely by hatred and racism. As Mayor Holder has mentioned, this was homicide. It was a hate crime. It was an act of terrorism in opposition to a household,” he mentioned.

Ontario’s NDP and official opposition chief Andrea Horwath advised mourners that all these assaults should finish and that nobody ought to should be afraid to go about their life.

“These hate fueled acts of terrorism should cease. Nobody ought to worry strolling with their family members on a road, on a spring night,” she mentioned.

Horwath added that folks in Ontario should acknowledge the existence of this hatred within the province and the worry that Muslim individuals cope with in Canada.

“We should admit this, that is step one, we should as Ontarians admit this. It’s a very actual, very acquainted worry going through Muslims due to Islamophobic, white supremacist violence and hate. 


Dr. Ahmed Hegazy, a household pal, advised CTV Information Channel on Tuesday that he had first met the Afzaals 14 years in the past on the mosque, and that two days after their deaths, his shock had but to dissipate.

He described Salman Afzaal as “very useful to all people, actually simply anyone who’d exit of his approach to assist individuals. His spouse was no completely different.”

One other household pal, Saboor Khan, described them as “gems in our group” and “the perfect of individuals.”

“Everyone appeared as much as them, due to how exhausting they labored,” he mentioned.

Yasmin Khan, a household pal and activist who’s talking at Tuesday evening’s vigil, known as the household “superb individuals” and “pure souls”

“They have been the kind of people who wouldn’t even damage an insect,” she advised CTV Information Channel’s Energy Play. “They have been all the time there for individuals. Should you did incorrect upon them, and the following day you wanted assist, they might be first at the doorstep.”

Khan added that the group will do its finest to boost Fayez, who’s now orphaned due to the assault. 

“Household is right here and we’re all doing what we will to assist him,” she mentioned. “He’s everybody’s son now… We are going to do as a lot as we will, as a result of that’s what our sister and brother would’ve needed.”

Dozens visited the crash scene on Monday evening to pay their very own tributes to the household, many inserting flowers and teddy bears of their reminiscence. The scene continued to attract guests on Tuesday, with one man telling reporters that he introduced his younger son there “to clarify to him that hatred has no place right here.”

The mayor of London, Ed Holder, advised CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday that the town is supporting its Muslim group in its grief.

“This type of factor, you all the time think about, occurs someplace else,” he mentioned.

“That is the time after we’ve misplaced our innocence.”


The household’s assertion calls for everybody, from politicians to the general public, to “stand in opposition to hate and Islamophobia” in favour of humanity.

“We have to perceive that the destruction of a household within the brutal and horrific method like that is one thing we should all stand in opposition to,” the assertion reads.

Yasmin Khan, who started sporting a hijab at age 14, mentioned she routinely offers with impolite feedback or anger due to what she’s sporting.

“It’s one thing that’s regular for me now to have individuals uncomfortable with me, to have individuals converse to me rudely,” she mentioned.

Khan has now dedicated to sporting her hijab with satisfaction, as Yumna had accomplished.

“She was strolling with a lot satisfaction and love for (her hijab), I’m going to stroll each single day with a lot love for this,” she mentioned. “The second we let individuals know that we have now worry, we let individuals win. I’m not going to let anybody win.”

Monday’s assault has been condemned by politicians throughout Canada and world wide, together with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who known as it an indication of rising Islamophobia in Western nations. Associates say the Afzaals have been well-known inside London’s Pakistani-Muslim group.

Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Discussion board, advised CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday that the assault needs to be thought-about home terrorism.

“We’ve to call it so as to have the ability to tackle it,” he mentioned.

“Harmless individuals have simply been killed for what they’re, and nonetheless we’re hesitant to name it what it’s.”

Majzoub mentioned that he has seen progress on combating Islamophobia because the lethal 2017 capturing at a mosque in Quebec Metropolis, however that it has primarily come within the type of phrases, not actions.

“I don’t deny that we have now superior in combating hate and xenophobia, not less than on the rhetoric facet, however to this point we have not seen … insurance policies addressing [them],” he mentioned.

Saboor Khan, who can also be the president of the London chapter of the Muslim Affiliation of Canada, echoed these sentiments, saying that his household lives in the identical neighbourhood because the Afzaal household and goes out for walks on daily basis.

“This might have been any considered one of us,” he mentioned.

“We’ve to consider what actions are wanted to cease this sort of hate and this sort of violence.”

Should you want psychological well being assist in the wake of the London, Ont. automobile assault, assist and assets can be found right here.

With recordsdata from CTV Information London, CTVNews.ca producer Rachel Aiello, CTVNews.ca Author Ben Cousins, CTV Nationwide Information correspondent Merella Fernandez, and The Canadian Press

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Supply by [earlynews24.com]