Condolences from across the world have started pouring in for Muslim family killed in London, Ontario terrorist attack yesterday, which has been described as the worst against Canadian Muslims since the Quebec attack of 2017.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter that he was “horrified” by the news. “Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable – and it must stop,” he said.
Leading American Muslim scholar imam Omar Suleiman also shared condolences, warning of increasing hate.
“A 20 year old decided to drive his car into this entire family in Canada to kill them all because of his hatred of Muslims. 4 of them have died. May Allah have mercy on the martyrs, heal the survivors, and protect us from the evil that drove that young man to hate. Ameen,” imam Suleiman wrote on Twitter.
Four Muslims, two women aged 77 and 44, a 46-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl, were killed Sunday when Nathaniel Veltman, 20, used a black pick-up truck to jump a curb and strike them.
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A nine-year-old boy was seriously injured and is recovering in hospital.
A crowdfunding campaign in support of members of the victims’ family had already raised more than C$368,189 in a few hours.
The attack shocked London, which has about 400,000 residents including a large Muslim community.
The teenage girl who was killed “will be deeply missed by fellow students and staff at Oakridge Secondary School,” the school said in a statement.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said on Twitter that the “Toronto Sign will be dimmed tonight to mourn the London family.”
Gurpreet Singh Dhillon, a regional councilor in Brampton, Ontario, has also shared a message of solidarity with the victims and the Muslim community.
In Pakistan, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack, saying it indicated “growing Islamophobia” in Western countries.
“Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically by the international community,” Khan said on Twitter.
Many people have also thronged the social media to render support for the Muslim community, with hashtags like #OurLondonFamily #MuslimLivesMatter now trending.
A vigil has been organized at a local mosque on Tuesday night to remember the victims.
The family said in a statement the public needs to stand against hate and Islamophobia.
“This 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, from the highest levels in our government to every member of the community,” it said.
The attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since a man killed six members of a Quebec City mosque in 2017.
Sunday’s attack came amid rising concerns about Islamophobic attacks in provinces across Canada and widespread calls for authorities to tackle racism, hate-motivated violence, and the prevalence of far-right groups.
Statistics Canada said in March that police-reported hate crimes targeting Muslims “rose slightly” to 181 incidents in 2019 – the last year for which the data is available. That is up from 166 incidents the previous year.