Four members of a respected Muslim family who emigrated from Pakistan 14 years ago in the hopes of building a better life in Canada were killed June 6 in a pre-meditated act of violence motivated by hatred. The attack against the Afzal family took place in the Ontario city of London, and has left a nine-year-old boy in hospital with serious injuries from the attack.
The family of five was out for their daily walk when a pickup truck deliberately jumped the curb and ran them over because of their religion, Canadian police say. A 15-year-old girl, a 56-year-old man, and two women aged 44 and 74 were killed. A nine-year-old boy is the only survivor of the attack, and now faces the harsh reality of growing up without his family.
The Board, staff and volunteers of IDRF are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy, and join millions of Canadians from all religions, race and heritage in extending their heartfelt condolences to the surviving son, and relatives and friends of the Afzal family.
In their honour, the London Muslim Mosque has set up a local fund — which Canadians can support, to help fulfill the needs of the surviving son.
The Afzal family were dedicated and generous members of the London Muslim Mosque, and by all accounts a model family as Muslims, Canadians and Pakistanis. They were described by friends as people who “worked extremely hard in their fields and excelled.” Their children were described as “top students in their school and connected strongly with their spiritual identity.”
The attack against the Afzals was the worst mass murder in London’s history, and the worst against Canadian Muslims since a man gunned down six members of a Quebec City Mosque in 2017.
“This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in the House of Commons. He also promised to take more action to deal with far-right groups that promote hate and violence.
Mr. Trudeau is among political, community and religious leaders who will be attending a vigil outside the London Muslim Mosque today for the victims of the attack. IDRF will also be represented at the vigil by its CEO, Mahmood Qasim.
“We join others in condemning this hate crime against Muslims, as we would acts of violence and hate against any group,” Mr. Qasim said. “Canada is a tolerant and open society, and we must all stand together in fighting Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and other types of prejudice and intolerance. I grieve with my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters at this tragic and senseless loss of life.”
IDRF grieves with Canadian Muslims today and invites all Canadians to join us in honouring the precious life and legacy of the Afzal family.