Leaders and members of the international community are speaking out against Islamophobia and condemning a targeted attack in which a pickup truck struck a Muslim family out for a walk in London, Ont., Sunday, leaving four dead and a nine-year-old boy in hospital.
Organizations and leaders from around the world, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are calling the violent killing a “terrorist attack” and are advocating for the end of hate and discrimination against Muslims.
On Tuesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said the “act of terrorism” against the London, Ont., family shows the “growing Islamophobia” in western countries.
“Saddened to learn of the killing of a Muslim-Pakistani origin Canadian family in London, Ontario,” he said on Twitter. “Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically by the international community.”
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also rebuked the attack, saying he is “appalled” and that his heart goes out to the victims, surviving family, loved ones and the community.
“We must stand united against Islamophobia now more than ever,” he tweeted.
On Monday, city police in London said a 20-year-old driver of a black pickup truck intentionally mounted the sidewalk and drove into a family of five out for an evening walk. The area’s police chief said investigators believe the family was targeted because of their Islamic faith.
The victims’ family has identified the four who were killed as Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother. The son, nine-year-old Fayez Afzaal, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, from London, Ont., was arrested and charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with the attack.
On Monday night, U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar said the violent killing is a “cruel reminder” that anti-Muslim hate is “deadly and alive in the West.”
“We must all speak out against it and prosecute these violent hate crimes against Muslims vigorously,” she said.
Melita Gabrič, the ambassador of the delegation of the European Union to Canada, also denounced the attack, saying she is “shocked” at the violence.
“We stand united with Canada, committed to the freedom of religion and worship,” she tweeted Tuesday.
“We condemn Islamophobia and any form of hate crime.”
Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the violent killing at a House of Commons meeting on Tuesday, saying targeted Islamophobic attacks must stop. The National Assembly of Pakistan also condemned what happened, offering prayers to the four who passed away and wishing a speedy recovery for the nine-year-old boy.
“We stand with the people of London and with Muslim communities across the country,” Trudeau said at Tuesday’s House of Commons meeting.
“We’re going to continue to fund initiatives likes the security infrastructure program to help protect communities at risk and their schools and places of worship. We’ll continue to fight hate online and offline, which includes taking even more action to dismantle far-right hate groups.”
Hundreds are expected to attend a vigil for the Muslim family in London, Ont., Tuesday evening.