Community reeling following alleged hate-motivated killing of Muslim family in London, Ont.
Londoners and Canadians across the country are having a difficult time coming to terms with Sunday's alleged hate-motivated attack against a Muslim family that saw four members killed and a nine-year-old boy injured in hospital.
Hundreds of people flocked to the location in northwest London Monday to drop off flowers and pay their respects at the corner of Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road.
Makeshift memorial in London, Ont. after a Muslim family was killed in an alleged hate-motivated attack. (Daryl Newcombe/CTV London)
Mounds of flowers and toys now dot the vacant lot where a family of five were killed Sunday evening by the driver of a pick-up truck.
“I feel like there should be more justice in the world,” said 11-year-old Zain Arwani, whose thoughts were with the hospitalized boy, “He’ll grow up the rest of his life without a sister or parents.
Mayor Ed Holder and Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan circulated through the crowd, speaking to many of the grieving Londoners.
“I feel for the pain of the family, friends, and everyone else,” said Zina Shakir after dropping off a bouquet of flowers.
"They were killed for simply existing, and that’s not okay. We have to call it out," says London Coun. and Muslim Mo Salih.
An emotional Salih discussed how the tragic loss of the family is impacting the Muslim community and must be motivation for all Londoners to push back against hate.
London Police Services Board Chair Dr. Javeed Sukhera tweeted that the community is shattered beyond words.
And in case anyone wonders why I fight so hard against xenophobic discourse. I do it because it is literally a matter of life and death for some of us.— Javeed Sukhera MD PhD (@javeedsukhera) June 7, 2021
Questions are being asked about the location of the arrest of the suspect Sunday night. Cherryhill Mall is seven kilometres from the crime scene at Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road but only a block from the London Muslim Mosque, the largest mosque in the region.
Police vehicles were parked at the entrance and exit of the mosque’s property Monday.
"You are safe. We will do whatever is required. To creek our community safe and we stand with the community," said London Police Chief Steve Williams in a news conference Monday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences to those affected Monday, especially the nine-year-old boy still in the hospital.
I’m horrified by the news from London, Ontario. To the loved ones of those who were terrorized by yesterday’s act of hatred, we are here for you. We are also here for the child who remains in hospital - our hearts go out to you, and you will be in our thoughts as you recover.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 7, 2021
A spokesperson for the London Muslim Mosque said the community will survive this test through faith. "We will respond to those trying to inflict terror on our community with love," says Nawaz Tahir.
"For the most part Londoners welcome most Muslims including me into the community. The reality is there are so many people in London and around the world who are motivated by hate," added Salih.
Meanwhile, the National Council of Canadian Muslims is calling for an immediate National Action Summit on Islamophobia with federal, provincial, and municipal leaders. A hashtag #OurLondonFamily has been created with the hope Canadians will use it along with changing their social media profiles to the Green Ribbon Against Islamophobia logo.
Green Ribbon Against Islamophobia social media campaign
The Jewish community in London also issued a statement Monday, united in grief over a senseless incident.
"The London Jewish Community is horrified by this murderous act of Islamophobia. Our hearts are heavy and we mourn along with the Muslim community of London Ontario at this unspeakable loss of life. No person should have to live in fear because of their faith or beliefs. Our prayers are with the family and all of Canada’s Muslim communities."
A London Ont. man, Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in relation.
A masked and socially distanced vigil is planned for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the London Muslim Mosque.