PM Trudeau Offers Condolences to Family of Mosque Stabbing Victim

Ten days after the murder of a a Toronto mosque caretaker, Canada is grappling with concerns over the rise of white supremacy and hate groups.

In his first comment on the incident, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered condolences on Tuesday to the family of the 58-year-old Muslim stabbed to death on September 12.

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Following reports that the man charged in the crime follows a hate group, Trudeau said the fact that the incident is connected to Neo-Nazism and Islamophobia is worrisome, CBC reported.

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“My heart goes out to the loved ones of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis,” Trudeau tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

“The reports that his murder was motivated by Neo-Nazism and Islamophobia are extremely concerning. We stand with Muslim communities against such hatred, which has no place in Canada. We are with you.”

Guilherme “William” Von Neutegem, 34, faces charges with first-degree murder in connection with the killing of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis.

The victim was sitting on a chair outside the front doors, controlling the access to the building to comply with public health measures, when the suspect approached and stabbed him once.

Fighting White Supremacy

According to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, a non-profit organization that monitors, researches, and combats hate groups, the group Von Neutegem follows is a satanic neo-Nazi death cult.

On the other hand, the National Council of Canadian Muslims has called on the federal government to take immediate action in dismantling white supremacist groups.

“When the Quebec City Mosque attack happened, many of us prayed that this would be the last time we lost community members to Islamophobia and hate. We were wrong,” said Mustafa Farooq, CEO of the council, in a statement.

“As the number of alt-right and neo-Nazi groups grow in Canada, we now know that without action today, it will simply be a matter of time before the next attack.

“When I saw Brother Mohamed on the ground outside the mosque, that was the last time that anyone in Canada should have to see such a sight. That’s why we’re calling for immediate action.”

Rising Hate

Statistics Canada cited a 151% spike in police-reported anti-Muslim hate crimes in 2017 following the Quebec mosque attack and the RCMP says far-right extremists have become emboldened in Canada.

In June 2019, the Liberal government released its first anti-racism strategy that pledged $45 million over three years to tackle systemic discrimination through education and other community programs and to boost data collection on race and ethnicity.

The strategy, called “Building a Foundation for Change”, will also create an office to oversee the initiative.

The most recent national crime data by Statistics Canada from 2018 shows that reported hate crimes were down for the first time in five years.