Hamilton police say they have charged a local man in connection with the promotion of Islamaphobia via social media posts.
Investigators allege the 26-year-old intentionally targeted members of the Muslim community following June’s targeted vehicle attack in London, Ont., which saw four members of a Muslim family die and a young boy left in hospital.
The posts in question were made in reference to the London attack, according to Det. Fabiano Mendes of the hate crime unit.
“The charge of willful promotion of hatred requires prior consent from the attorney general to be laid,” Mendes said in statement.
“After investigating the incident, the Hamilton Police hate crime unit applied to lay the charge and consent was granted by the deputy attorney general of Ontario.”
Spokesperson Jackie Penman confirms the charge is a first for Hamilton police.
The accused made his first appearance in court on Wednesday.
Anyone with information on the case can reach out to Hamilton police.
Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed while out for an evening walk in London’s Hyde Park neighbourhood.
The couple’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, was seriously injured.
The incident has sparked recent conversations about Islamophobia among local, provincial and federal governments.
In late July, the federal government hosted a national summit aimed at combating the problem, which featured an appearance from the London Muslim Mosque.
The 20-year-old man accused in the targeted vehicle attack in London, Nathaniel Veltman, is facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, and Crown prosecutors allege that each charge constituted an act of terrorism.
His case is set to return to court on Aug. 25.