Montrealers stress inclusion, tolerance at vigil for London family

Hundreds of Montrealers gathered downtown on Wednesday to mourn and honour the four victims of a racist attack in London, ON.

The vigil was held just days after four members of the Afzaal family was killed in the Ontario city. Police said the killings were motivated by anti-Muslim hatred.

“It was a fanatic act. You don't know that this can happen to people just walking on the street in a peaceful city in a placeful place,” said Mohamed Kamen of the Citizens' Rights Movement. “It's not a war zone.”

Speakers at the event pushed back against Islamophobia, saying Quebecers of all cultures can come together to reject hate.

“The illness of ignorance is here and... we can get together and care about each other,” said Amal Elsana Alh'Jooj.

City councillor Lionel Perez was among those in attendance, saying “It's important for us to show solidarity, to denounce such acts and never allow it to become tolerable. The indifference to such events is the ally of evil.”

Ehab Lotayef of the Muslim Council of Montreal said divisive policies can undo advancements in uniting Quebecers.

“Like (secularism law) Bill 21, for example, makes things much worse,” he said. “One bad effect by a politician or a leader is equal to a hundred good moves.”

Activist and mayoral candidate Balarama Holness was also present and said events like the vigil are necessary “to send a message to the younger generation because that's where it really starts. Solidarity, tolerance, inclusion are important and these values must be nurtured in family homes as well as in schools.” 

LISTEN ON CJAD 800 RADIO: Quebec politicians denounce attempts to link bill 21 to London attack

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