Mates, neighbours bear in mind victims of London, Ont. car assault

2021-06-10 06:12:00

Mates and neighbours are remembering the 4 Muslim members of the family killed in what police say was a focused assault in London, Ont., and are demanding neighborhood leaders take higher steps to handle Islamophobia in Canada.

Rania Lawendy, the nationwide director of the Muslim Affiliation of Canada, advised CTV Information Channel on Wednesday that feelings are operating excessive within the London neighborhood following the assault.

“Clearly our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their household and our grieving neighborhood, however on the similar time it’s been fantastic to see the outpouring of affection and help,” Lawendy mentioned.

“It is type of a juxtaposition between…feeling immense unhappiness and loss but in addition having a way of hope with totally different messages from totally different folks and the outpouring of affection that we noticed,” she added.

An announcement 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 highway to restoration from severe accidents,” the assertion reads.

The household’s assertion calls for everybody, from politicians to the general public, to “stand towards 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 towards,” the assertion reads.

Lawendy mentioned her daughter and niece had been shut buddies with 15-year-old Yumna, who was killed within the assault. She mentioned it has been “very troublesome” for the women within the wake of her dying.

Lawendy mentioned she met with Yumna’s former Grade 8 class earlier this week to assist them address their feelings following the assault.

“I used to be capable of type of discuss to them and have them get out their emotions and their fears and their anxieties they usually had been all simply making an attempt to console one another, however as you possibly can think about it has been a horrific time for these younger women,” Lawendy mentioned.

She defined that the youth she spoke with are scared and struggling to know why the assault occurred. Lawendy mentioned lots of the children requested her if an assault like this was going to occur to them.

“Shedding your buddy is troublesome sufficient particularly at such a younger age,” she mentioned. “After which… have or not it’s a hate crime, that may be very, very troublesome for all of them, and all of us as a neighborhood.”

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 involved with the RCMP and wouldn’t touch upon whether or not additional costs could also be laid.

Police allege that Veltman was driving a pickup truck that mounted a curb and hit the household, who had 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.


At a vigil held in London on Tuesday night time, a household buddy of the victims spoke a number of phrases about her younger buddy Yumna earlier than a second of silence.

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

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

Khan advised CTV Information Channel’s Energy Play that the household was a bunch of “superb folks.”

“They had been all the time there for folks. In case you did unsuitable upon them, and the following day you wanted assist, they might be first at your step,” Khan mentioned.

Khan added that the neighborhood 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 help 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 wished.”

One other of Yumna’s buddies, Safiyah Lawendy, 14, beforehand advised The Canadian Press that she hopes the assault serves as a wake-up name for many who do not consider Islamophobia is current in Canada.

London Mayor Ed Holder described the assault as “an act of mass homicide, and a grotesque expression of hatred rooted in Islamaphobia.”

Holder advised CTV’s Your Morning on Tuesday that town is supporting its Muslim neighborhood in its grief.

“This type of factor, you all the time think about, occurs some other place,” he mentioned. “That is the time once we’ve misplaced our innocence.”

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

He described Salman Afzaal as “very useful to everyone, actually simply any person who’d exit of his means to assist folks. His spouse was no totally different.”

Mates say the Afzaals had been well-known inside London’s Pakistani-Muslim neighborhood. One other household buddy, Saboor Khan, described them as “gems in our neighborhood” and “the very best of individuals.”

“Everyone regarded as much as them, due to how laborious they labored,” he mentioned.

Saboor Khan, who can be the president of the London chapter of the Muslim Affiliation of Canada, mentioned 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 one in all us,” he mentioned.

“We now have to consider what actions are wanted to cease this type of hate and this type of violence.”

Within the wake of the tragedy, the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims has launched a petition calling for a Nationwide Motion Summit on Islamophobia the place federal, provincial, and municipal leaders can come collectively to “take rapid motion on dismantling each violent types of Islamophobia and systemic Islamophobia.”

As of Wednesday night, the petition had over 25,000 signatures.


In case you want psychological well being assist in the wake of the London, Ont. car assault, help and sources can be found right here.

With information from’s Ryan Flanagan,’s Brooke Taylor, CTV Information London, and The Canadian Press

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