Wide Angle

Canada : A Muslim family of four has been killed in a tragic premeditated attack

Islamophobia strikes again in Canada. Four people have been killed for their appurtenance to the Muslim community, supposed or real.

The victims, left to right, Faez Afzaal, Yumnah Afzaal, Madiha Salman, the grand mother and her son Syed Afzaal / All right reserved
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The attack took place in London, Ontario (Canada) Sunday evening, resulting in the death of four people of the same Muslim family. According to the first elements of the investigation, the family members were targeted intentionally because of their religious belief in a premeditated act.

It was a bit before 9pm when the emergency services were called about an accident involving a black pick-up and pedestrians. According to the first information available to the police, the vehicle arrived at a high rate of speed and went up the sidewalk to hit the family.

A woman of 74 years old, whose name has not been reviled, lost her life on the impact. Her 46yo son Syed Afzaal, his wife Madiha Salman of 44 years of age and their young 15yo daughter Yumnah Afzaal were rushed to the hospital where they tragically died of their wounds. The only survivor of this attack was their young son, Faez Afzaal, 9 years old and who was rushed to the hospital with his family. Even if his life is not endangered, he is still being treated for severe injuries. The family of Pakistanis origin came to Canada 14 years prior, according to Reuters.

Terrorist Attack ?

The police managed to catch the driver 6 kilometers away from the scene after he stopped his vehicle. During the arrest, he wore what seemed to the police to be a body-armor. This Monday, he has been charged of four premeditated homicides, and a homicide attempt. The city police is consulting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police about the eventuality of charging him for terrorism.

Global News quotes London’s police superintendent Paul Waight, according to whom «there is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim». The police announced that they are looking at the past of Nathaniel Veltman, the driver arrested, his internet history and publications. A special line has been set up to direct any tip about the driver and his motives.
London’s mayor Ed Holder spoke to condemn this tragedy, adding that many hearts were broken. Interrogated by the press, he declared: «This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, and rooted in unspeakable hatred.» 

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, showed on Monday his support to the victim’s relatives and the young survivor. «I am horrified by the news from London in Ontario. To the relatives of the people terrorized by yesterday’s hateful act, we are there for you. We are also there, with all our heart, with the child that is still in hospital, and we think about him during his recovery.»

Trudeau also insisted that «Islamophobia has no place» in any community in Canada, adding «this hate is insidious and despicable - it has to stop».

A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign has been launched for the victims’ family, gathering more than 200,000 Canadian dollars (1,460,000 dirham) after 12h.

This tragedy comes four years after the Great mosque of the city of Québec, where a white supremacist shot and killed 6 people, wounding 8 others.

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