Muslim communities ‘nonetheless reeling’ from lethal assault on a Muslim household in London, Ontario final yr, advocate says.
Montreal, Canada – Muslim group leaders in Canada are renewing their calls to deal with Islamophobia as they commemorate the one-year anniversary of a lethal assault on a Muslim household that authorities say was motivated by hate.
Over 150 delegates are assembly with parliament members within the capital, Ottawa, on Monday to demand concrete motion to deal with Islamophobia and hate crimes, mentioned Fatema Abdalla, spokesperson for the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) advocacy group.
A stroll in opposition to Islamophobia may also be held on Monday night, NCCM mentioned in a press release.
“Muslim communities are nonetheless reeling from this incident,” Abdalla instructed Al Jazeera in a cellphone interview in regards to the lethal assault in London, Ontario, on June 6 final yr.
“This brutal assault has ceaselessly altered the connection that Muslim group have with Canada. Muslims are afraid to stroll throughout the road; they’re afraid of congregating at masjids [mosques] with out having to look over their shoulder.”
Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old spouse Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, have been killed when a driver ran them over with a pick-up truck whereas they have been out for a stroll. The couple’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, was significantly injured.
The police chief mentioned on the time that the victims have been “focused due to their Islamic religion”.
At the moment, we bear in mind.
We commeorate the reminiscence of #OurLondonFamily.
Greater than a thousand individuals of fine will collect at this time as a united group in opposition to Islamophobia and racism.
We’re right here to do not forget that phrases should not sufficient. pic.twitter.com/3rSRbx0AeC
— NCCM (@nccm) June 5, 2022
The assault renewed sorrow and trauma for Muslim group members throughout Canada, a lot of whom have been nonetheless reeling within the aftermath of a lethal 2017 assault on a Quebec mosque that left six worshippers useless, and a deadly stabbing at one other mosque in Toronto in 2020.
For years, Muslim group leaders have known as on authorities to deal with racism, hate-motivated violence, and the prevalence of far-right teams in Canada.
Researchers in 2020 discovered that the variety of hate teams working within the nation had tripled in recent times, with anti-Muslim rhetoric one of many “most salient” subjects amongst right-wing extremists on-line.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to deal with the issue, holding a nationwide summit on Islamophobia in July of final yr.
On Sunday, Trudeau and different authorities officers attended a march in London to recollect the Afzaal household and stand united in opposition to hate.
“This afternoon in London, hundreds of individuals confirmed as much as honour the Afzaal household; to be there for Fayez, who survived; and to march in opposition to Islamophobia. In reminiscence of #OurLondonFamily, we should hold working collectively and utilizing each instrument now we have to fight this hatred,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
Final yr, NCCM put ahead an inventory of 61 suggestions to deal with Islamophobia in any respect ranges of presidency, together with by the event of a federal anti-Islamophobia technique and the availability of funds to assist help victims of hate-motivated crimes.
The group additionally urged Canadian provinces to make sure their anti-racism directorates are nicely resourced and known as on municipalities to fund community-based efforts to deal with the issue.
Abdalla at NCCM mentioned that whereas some constructive steps have been taken during the last yr – together with the reintroduction of laws that will permit for civilian oversight of the Canada Border Providers Company (CBSA) – extra motion is required.
“We do imagine that it begins from the highest. We have to see change and we have to see it now, and one of many key methods we will do that’s by informing our Canadian society in regards to the precise hurt Islamophobia has,” she instructed Al Jazeera.
In the meantime, the London assault suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, faces 4 counts of first-degree homicide, one depend of tried homicide and terrorism expenses. His trial is ready to start in September 2023, Canadian media retailers have reported.