Pakistan-origin family of 4 killed in planned Islamophobic attack in Canada
ONTARIO – A driver crashed a pickup truck into a Pakistani origin family of five, killing four of them while injuring the 9-year-old in a planned attack as the victims were Muslims, Canadian police announced Monday.
Law enforcers in the Canadian city of London, Ontario, revealed that the man intentionally killed the family, including a teenage girl, because of their faith.
Reports of international media cited that a 20-year-old suspect who is identified as Nathanial Veltman was apprehended after a Muslim family was hit by a vehicle on Hyde Park Road on Sunday. The family members were waiting to cross the road when the attacker jumped the curb and slammed the vehicle into them.
The act has been denounced as an act of unspeakable hatred and Islamophobia. Local law enforcers revealed that the victims were two women aged 77 and 44, a 46-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl. The injured boy was seriously injured and is recovering in a medical facility however local authorities did not release the names of the victims.
Reports cited that a woman was pronounced dead at the scene, two adults and two children were taken to a hospital where a teenager and both adults died.
London Police Service Superintendent Paul Waight speaking in a news conference said ‘There is evidence that the attack was a planned, premeditated act motivated by hate. It is believed these victims were targeted because they were Muslim.’ ‘It could be the most people killed at one time in the city's history. The attacker, Nathanial Veltman, was charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder’, he added.
The gruesome attack occurred amid rising concerns about Islamophobic attacks in provinces across the North American country and widespread calls for authorities to tackle racism, hate-motivated violence, and the prevalence of extremist groups.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter where he said that he was horrified by what he described as an act of hatred.
To the Muslim community in London and to Muslims across the country, know that we stand with you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable - and it must stop.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 7, 2021
City’s Mayor Ed Holder said he ordered flags outside city hall lowered for three days of mourning. A statement issued in this regard stated “Let me be clear: This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Muslims and rooted in unspeakable hatred'.
'This act of unspeakable hatred, this act of Islamaphobia, must be followed by acts of compassion, acts of kindness, acts of empathy, acts of solidarity and, above all else, love’, it added.
According to the report of Statistics Canada, police reported increased hate crimes targeting Muslims. That is up from 166 incidents the previous year. Muslim women in the province of Alberta have been targeted in several incidents.
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