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4 COVER STORY June 11, 2021 www.desitalk.com – that’s all you need to know ‘Stand Against Hate’: Canadian Muslim Family Loses Three Generations In Truck Attack R elatives of a Canadian Muslim family killed when a man rammed them with his pick-up truck on Sunday called on the wider community to stand up to racism and Islamophobia after police said the suspect had been fuelled by hate. The four family members killed were Salman Af- zaal, 46, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter, Yumnah Afzaal, and Syed Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother, whose name is not yet released. Their 9-year-old son, Fayez Afzaal, is in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. A 20-year-old suspect is in police custody and has been charged with murder. In a statement on Tuesday, the family contradicted the initial police appraisal that he was not a member of any hate group and had no ac- complices. “The young man who committed this act of terror was influenced by a group that he associated with, and the rest of the community must take a strong stand against this...,” the family said in a statement. “We need to stand against hate and Islamophobia and raise awareness in our communities and across all the political spectrum,” it said. Police, citing witnesses, said that 20-year-old Nathan- iel Veltman, jumped the curb in his vehicle and struck five members of the family. Veltman, who had no previ- ous criminal record, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He is due back in court on Thursday after being remanded to custody on Monday. The family called the attack brutal and horrific, and said the children had both been top students and their parents excelled in their fields. “Everyone who knew Salman and the rest of the... family know the model family they were as Muslims, Ca- nadians, and Pakistanis. They were always there giving and participating in spreading goodness,” it said. The family has declined to comment further and asked to grieve in private. The attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since a man gunned down six members of a Quebec City mosque in 2017. - Reuters By MoiraWarburton -TORONTO A man accused of mowing down five members of the same fam- ily with a black pickup truck in an Ontario city on Sunday, kill- ing four and seriously injuring a 9-year-old boy, targeted them because they were Muslim, police said Monday, in what the city’s mayor branded an act of “mass murder.” Police said the victims, who were struck while waiting to cross an inter- section on a sunny and clear Sunday evening in London, Ontario, included a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl. The 9-year-old boy is in the hospi- tal with serious but not life-threatening injuries. Police said family members had requested that their names not be released. “Based on information collected during the course of the investigation, we believe that this was an intentional act and that the victims of this horrific incident were targeted,” London Police Chief SteveWilliams told reporters on Monday. “We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.” Detective Superintendent Paul Waight said police on Sunday arrested the suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, in a mall parking lot four miles from where the attack occurred “wearing a vest that appeared to be like body armor.” The 20-year-old was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Police are in contact with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police about wheth- er terrorism charges should be pursued, Waight said. London Mayor Ed Holder ordered flags outside the city hall to be lowered for three days of mourning. “Let me be clear: This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Mus- lims - against Londoners - and rooted in unspeakable hatred,” he said. “The magnitude of such hatred can make one question who we are as a city, and who we are as Londoners.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet that he was “horrified” by the news. “To the Muslim community in Lon- don and to Muslims across the country, know that we stand with you,” he wrote. “Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable - and it must stop.” Waight said that there is no known connection between Veltman and the family. He declined to say whether Velt- man, a London resident, had confessed to targeting Muslims. So far, Waight said, police do not know of his membership “in any specific hate group.” Paige Martin, a resident of the city roughly 120 miles southwest of Toronto, told local media that she was returning from getting gas when she came upon a scene of “chaos” in the “seemingly mostly quiet neighborhood.” “There was people everywhere and running, just citizens trying to direct the emergency vehicles where to go,” she said. “There was a lot of pointing and screaming and arms waving. It was just absolutely like something out of - that you never want to see.” In an April report, the Canadian Se- curity Intelligence Service, the country’s national intelligence agency, warned that the coronavirus pandemic had “exacerbated xenophobic and anti-au- thority narratives.” It cited “ideologically motivated violent extremism,” which includes racially motivated violence, as a growing threat. Nawaz Tahir, a London lawyer, told reporters that the “horror” of the attack is “unfathomable.” He pointed to recent examples of Islamophobia-motivated violence, including a shooting at a Quebec City mosque in 2017 that left six dead and scores injured. Justice François Huot of the Quebec Superior Court said at a sentencing hearing that the gunman was motivated by a “visceral hatred toward Muslims.” “We must confront and stamp out Islamophobia and Islamophobic violence,” Tahir said. “Not tomorrow. Today. For the sake of our children, our families, our communities.” - TheWashington Post By Amanda Coletta Mass Murder Three generations of a Muslim family were killed in Canada when a 20-year-old drove over them. Terrorism suspected. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio REUTERS/Carlos Osorio Members of the Selamati lay flowers at the fatal crime scene where a man driving a pickup truck jumped the curb and ran over a Muslim family in what police say was a deliberately targeted anti-Islamic hate crime, in London, Ontario, Canada June 7, 2021. Abdullah Alzureiqi and his daughter Hala say a prayer at the fatal crime scene where a man driving a pickup truck jumped the curb and ran over a Muslim family in what police say was a deliberately targeted anti-Islamic hate crime, in London, Ontario, Canada June 7, 2021.

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