Canada's Justin Trudeau joins in memory of family killed in truck attack

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Canada's Justin Trudeau joins in memory of family killed in truck attack

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares to speak at a vigil outside the London Muslim mosque, after four members of a Canadian Muslim family were killed in what police describe as a hate-motivated attack in London, Ontario, Canada on June 8, 2021. Nathan Denette Pool via REUTERS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined several thousand mourners in a vigil Tuesday night to remember three generations of a Canadian Muslim family killed in what police called a premeditated hate crime as a grieving community stood united in the midst of the crisis.

This is our city, told the crowd Bilal Rahhal, chair of the London Muslim Mosque. Never allow anyone to make you think differently because of the color of your skin, your faith, or why you were born. How do I deal with debt and debt issues and what you want to do, especially online? This is our city and we're not going anywhere.

Four members of the family were killed on Sunday when they were on an evening walk near their home in London, Ontario, when police say a man attacked them with his pick-up truck, targeting them because of their religion. The victims were Afzaal, 46; his wife, Yumna Afzaal, 44; their 15-year-old daughter, Madiha Salman, and Salman Afzaal's 74-year-old mother. Their 9-year-old son, Fayez Afzaal, remained hospitalized with serious but non-life threatening injuries in stable condition on Tuesday. Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with driving a pickup truck into a curb and crashing into Toronto, a city of over 400,000 people 400 km southwest of London.

He was arrested on Sunday just a few hundred meters from the London Muslim Mosque, which the Afzaal family attended and where Tuesday's vigil was held.

Addressing the mourners, Trudeau said his government would take action after placing flowers on the steps of the mosque, without giving details.

This was an act of evil. But the light of the people here today is the light of the lives of the Afzaal family that would always outweigh the dark, Trudeau said.

The majority of attendees wore masks, after the Ontario government made exception to COVID 19 restrictions in order to allow vigil to take place.

Other politicians were also in attendance, including the NDP-leader Doug Ford, the first person of color to become the leader of a federal political party in Canada, and the Ontario premier Erin O'Toole were also attracted to the event.

The attack caused a nationwide outpouring of grief with similar vigils taking place in Toronto, Vancouver and other cities across Canada.

The It’sLondonFamily hashtag had almost 10,000 tweets on Tuesday evening, and many people on social media changed their avatars to an image posted by the London Muslim Mosque of four green outlines of victims on a purple background with a purple ribbon.

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