Solidarity vigil at ISYR in Richmond Hill for Muslim family murdered in London, ON

Ensuring Socio-economic Justice

Crescent International

Shawwal 27, 1442 2021-06-08

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Maintaining social distancing and wearing face masks, a large number of Muslims and their non-Muslim friends participated in a vigil in the vast grounds of the Islamic Society of York Region in Richmond Hill to express sympathy and solidarity with the Afzaal family brutally murdered on June 6 evening in London, ON.

The official vigil for the Afzaal family brutally mowed down in a pre-meditated terrorist attack, was held in London, ON. today.

It was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and leaders of three of the four federal opposition parties as well as Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Special permission was granted for the London vigil to take place setting aside COVID-19 restrictions.

The London vigil was extremely emotional and carried live on most Canadian networks.

There was also a solidarity vigil held by the Islamic Society of York Region on its vast grounds in Richmond Hill.

The solidarity vigil, organized at very short notice, was aimed at providing an opportunity for the Muslim community in Toronto and GTA to share in the grief of the murdered family.

Hundreds of Muslims and non-Muslims came out in show of support and solidarity on June 8 evening.

There were emotional speeches as well as calls for the federal government to move beyond simple platitudes and take practical steps to confront Islamophobia in Canada.

Speakers included Zafar Bangash, Director Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, Human Rights lawyer Stephen Ellis, Deputy Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto, Junaid Wazir, former Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan, former President of the Canadian Arab Federation (Toronto Chapter) Ali Mallah and Maulana Ameen Jafri.

Messages from church leaders and others were also read out.

Earlier today, leaders of all political parties condemned the June 6 brutal attack carried out by Nathanial Veltman, 20.

Four members of the same family were killed and a 9-year-old boy was seriously injuries in the brutal attack carried out using a huge pickup truck.

The young boy, sole survivor of the terrorist attack, is in hospital.

Killed in the brutal attack were 46-year-old Salman Afzaal, his 74-year-old mother, 44-year-old wife Madiha and 15-year-old daughter Yumnah.

The family was out for a walk in the evening when Veltman drove his huge pickup truck into them as they stood at a crosswalk to cross the street.

He not only mowed them down but then reversed his truck to run over the fallen family members again.

The London police described it as a planned pre-meditated attack.

Veltman has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

The city police chief Steve Williams said terrorism charges were being considered.

The force was coordinating with the RCMP to relating to terrorism charges.

The Afzaal family had arrived in Canada from Pakistan in 2007 to start a new life.

Salman was a physiotherapist while his wife was working on her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Western Ontario.

The children were known to be very bright and were at the top of their class respectively.

The entire family has not only been wiped out but the sole survivor is a child whose life has been permanently damaged.

He is likely to suffer trauma for the rest of his life.

This was not the first terrorist attack in Canada.

In January 2017, six Muslims were killed and 19 injured in a shooting spree at the Quebec City Mosque.

Politicians denounced that attack as a terrorist act by the police did not charge the assailant, Alexandre Bissonnette, a university student, with terrorism.

Last year on September 12, a white person wielding a knife attacked a 58-year-old caretaker at the entrance to the International Muslims Organization mosque.

After each terrorist act, politicians denounced it and proclaimed such acts have no place in Canada.

Yet such attacks have continued, as the latest murders in London, ON. showed.

The Muslim community and their friends and allies are determined to push hard to force the government to make Islamophobia a hate crime in law.

While the law may not eliminate Islamophobia entirely, it will send a powerful message that the government is serious.

The loss of four innocent Muslim lives deserves no less.

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