'Motivated by hate': Trudeau condemns truck attack targeting Muslim family

'Motivated by hate': Trudeau condemns truck attack targeting Muslim family

The victims — two parents, two children and a grandmother — were on a night walk when the driving force of the truck struck them at an intersection in London, Ontario. the only survivor was a 9-year-old boy, who was hospitalized.
A pickup attack that killed four members of an immigrant family has shaken Canada, a rustic where immigrants are largely accepted, and drew denunciations Tuesday from Canada’s prime minister, who called it a hate crime directed at Muslims.

The victims — two parents, two children and a grandmother — were on a night walk when the driving force of the truck struck them at an intersection in London, Ontario. the only survivor was a 9-year-old boy, who was hospitalized.

“This was a surprise attack , motivated by hatred, within the heart of 1 of our communities,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Parliament. “If anyone thinks racism and hatred don’t exist during this country, i would like to mention this: How can we explain such violence to a toddler during a hospital? How can we glance families within the eye and say “Islamophobia isn’t real”?

The victims’ relatives issued a press release identifying the dead as Salman Afzal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; their daughter Yumna, 15; and a 74-year-old grandmother whose name was withheld. The hospitalized boy was identified because the couple’s son, Fayez. Friends said the family immigrated to Canada 14 years ago.
Many Canadians are enjoying evening walks to urge fresh air after long days reception during the pandemic, Trudeau said.

“But unlike every other night, this family never made it home,” Trudeau said. “Their lives were taken during a brutal, cowardly and brazen act of violence. This killing was no accident. ... Canadians are outraged by what happened on Sunday. and lots of Muslim Canadians are scared.”

Trudeau said words matter and partially blamed rhetoric, disinformation and extremism online and in politics.

“They are often a seed that grows into an unsightly , pervasive trend. And sometimes, they cause real violence,” the prime minister said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter that the attack revealed the growing Islamophobia in Western countries.

A 20-year-old suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, was arrested within the parking zone of a close-by mall. He was facing four counts of first-degree murder. Police were inside the suspect’s London apartment on Tuesday.

Police said Veltman didn't know the victims. Detective Supt. Paul Waight said it had been not clear if he belonged to any specific hate group, but that local police were working with federal authorities to research potential terrorism charges. He said the attack was planned.

Veltman worked part time at an egg farm in nearby Strathroy, Ontario. The chief executive of Gray Ridge Eggs Inc., William Gray, gave no details about Veltman’s job. He said the corporate was “shocked and saddened” by the attack, and he expressed sympathy for the victims’ relatives and therefore the Muslim community.

Arman Moradpourian, a lover who worked with Veltman, called Veltman a really devout Christian and said he was home schooled. Moradpourian said Veltman did not have a drag with him being Persian and raised Muslim.

“He never judged me,” Moradpourian told The Associated Press. “He would give his shirt off his back for you.”

Moradpourian said Veltman helped him with rides to grocery stores and helped him mediate family issues. He said Veltman deleted his social media years ago and remade it a couple of months ago. He said he used an equivalent name but said it had been deactivated after he was arrested. He said Veltman was into video games and fishing.

Everyone who knew the Afzal family knew “the model family they were as Muslims, Canadians and Pakistanis,” the statement from the relatives said. “They worked extremely hard in their fields and excelled. Their children were top students in their school and connected strongly with their spiritual identity.”

A fundraising webpage said the daddy was a physiotherapist and cricket enthusiast and his wife was performing on a doctorate in engineering at Western University in London. Their daughter was finishing ninth grade, and therefore the grandmother was a “pillar” of the family, the page said.

Thousands of mourners including Trudeau and therefore the leaders of all of Canada’s political parties attended a vigil Tuesday night at the mosque the family attended. Pandemic restrictions were eased to permit mourners to attend the outdoor vigil.

“There are not any words which will ease the grief of getting three generations murdered in their neighborhood,” Trudeau told the gang . “There are not any words which will undo the pain and yes the anger of this community. There are not any words which will fix the longer term of that tiny boy who has had his future removed . But know this: you're not alone. All Canadians mourn with you and stand with you.”

Imam Abd Alfatah Twakkal of the London Muslim Mosque said he hoped the vigil would be a pivotal moment for his community and country within the fight against the scourge of racism and discrimination.

“Every single one among us got to do our part,” he said.

Rauf Ahmad and three friends earlier watched the growing tribute at the intersection within the day.

“I didn’t think there was racism in Canada, and that i felt very safe once I came here two years ago, but I don't feel safe now,” Ahmad said. “Humanity is first. we should always not care about whether someone may be a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian.”

Near the crash scene, Zahid Khan, a family friend, said through tears: “They were just out for his or her walk that they might leave for each day. I just wanted to ascertain .”

Mayor Ed Holder said flags would be lowered for 3 days in London, which he said has 30,000 to 40,000 Muslims among its quite 400,000 residents.

Canada is usually welcoming toward immigrants and every one religions, but in 2017 a French Canadian man known for far-right, nationalist views went on a shooting rampage at a Quebec mosque that killed six people.

“Canada isn't resistant to the type of intolerance and division we've seen elsewhere within the world,” Trudeau said.

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