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‘I’m just heartbroken’: Halifax vigil shows solidarity with Muslim community

A vigil was held outside a Halifax mosque in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. in what police are calling an intentional act of hate. Alicia Draus/Global News

People gathered in Halifax Wednesday evening to hold a vigil in memory of the family killed while out for a walk in London, Ont., and to show solidarity with the Muslim community.

Four members of the family were killed, and a nine-year-old boy left fighting for his life in hospital, in what police say was an intentional act of hate.

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“Yesterday, my nine-year-old, when she heard about it, she said, ‘Does that mean we can’t go out? We will be killed?'” said Sura Hadad, who attended the Halifax vigil.

The Ummah Mosque in Halifax organized the event — not only as a way to show support, but to also call for an end to racism.

“To send a message of unity against hate from all forms and a message of solidarity and a message of call to action to stop this hate and to do our part,” said Imam Abdallah Yousri

Read more: Halifax Imam calls on all levels of Canadian government to implement hate crime legislation

Local politicians and leaders from different faiths took to the stage, to share words of comfort and messages of support.

“We all should be treated with dignity and respect, that none of us is better than any other and that this world is wide enough for us all,” Rev. Rhonda Britton told the socially-distanced crowd on the lawn outside the mosque.

(From right to left) Salman Afzaal, his 74-year-old mother, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal were the victims of Sunday’s attack in London, Ont. Supplied by family

Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin said what happened in London, Ont. was clearly an act of violence and hatred.

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“I ask all Nova Scotians to stand with me and condemn the brutality and hate that manifested itself into this cowardly act,” he said.

Even though COVID-19 protocols meant the number of people who could attend was limited, the message was loud,

“This has happened many times and we don’t want it to happen, and it happened to many people not only Muslim people, but every race, every colour. We need a law to be anti-hate, anti Islamophobia,” said Hadad.

The vigil was held outside the Ummah Mosque in Halifax. Alicia Draus/Global News

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