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Calgarians mourn Muslim family killed in Ontario hate-motivated attack

Click to play video: 'Hundreds attend Calgary vigil for Muslim family killed in London attack' Hundreds attend Calgary vigil for Muslim family killed in London attack
Hundreds attended a Calgary vigil on Tuesday to honour the family killed in the London, Ont., attack and to speak out against hate. Jackie Wilson reports – Jun 9, 2021

Hundreds gathered outside Calgary City Hall on Tuesday to condemn Islamaphobia and honour the Muslim family that was killed in a hate-motivated and targeted attack in London, Ont., on Sunday.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his 74-year-old mother — whose name was not provided — his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their daughter Yumna Afzaal, 15, were struck and killed by a vehicle while out for a walk Sunday evening, according to authorities. Their son Fayez Afzaal, 9, is recovering from injuries.

Read more: ‘Brutal and horrific’: Condolences pour in for Muslim family killed in London, Ont. attack

Leaders from multiple faith groups in Calgary showed their solidarity with the Muslim community, speaking about uniting against hate at the vigil.

“This is not a Muslim issue. This is a Canadian issue. This is a human issue,” said Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

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“What happened in London, Ont., it was shocking but it is not unexpected. Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, violence, hate is on the rise in this country, and until the government does something to stop it, it’s not going to stop.”

(From right to left) Salman Afzaal, his 74-year-old mother, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal. Supplied by family

Muslims are not asking for any special treatment; they are asking for equal treatment, “like any other Canadian,” Soharwardy said.

“How many lives have to be taken by these white supremacist hatemongers?” he said.

This isn’t the first time people have needed to gather to condemn Islamophobia, said Riyaz Khawaja, spokesperson for the Hussaini Association of Calgary. The vigil is about showing solidarity and promoting peace and harmony, he said.

“We want to tell them that we are with you. You are in our hearts,” Khawaja said.

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“The fear the hatemongers are trying to create, we want to defend [against] that. That’s only possible if we all come together and we gather here to spread awareness, stand against the hate, stand against Islamophobia and stand against terrorism.”

Read more: Calgary Muslim community calls for action against Islamophobia: ‘This could have been any one of us’

Rabbi Mark Glickman of Calgary’s Temple B’nai Tikvah said it simply: “When you attack one of us, you attack us all.”

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