‘This was no accident’: Trudeau calls killing of Muslim family in Ontario 'terrorist attack'
- On Sunday, a 20-year-old Canadian national rammed five members of a Muslim family, who were waiting to cross the intersection, with a black pickup truck.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday labelled the killing of four members of a Muslim family in London, Ontario, as a “terrorist attack.” Speaking in the House of Commons, Trudeau called the attack, in which five people were rammed by a black pickup truck, “a brutal, cowardly, and brazen act of violence.”
“This was no accident. This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities,” he said.
On Sunday, a 20-year-old Canadian national rammed five people, who were waiting to cross the intersection, with a black pickup truck. According to the police, the investigators believe it was an intentional act and the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith. The police said in a statement there is evidence that it was a “planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate.”
“There is no known previous connection between the suspect and the victims,” they added.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempt murder.
The four family members killed in the attack were Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife, Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter, Yumnah Afzaal, and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother, whose name is not yet released. Their 9-year-old son, Fayez Afzaal, is in hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
In a statement on Tuesday, the victims’ family called on everyone to stand against hate and Islamophobia. "The young man who committed this act of terror was influenced by a group that he associated with, and the rest of the community must take a strong stand against this...," the statement read.
"We need to stand against hate and Islamophobia and raise awareness in our communities and across all the political spectrum," it added.
Earlier on Monday, Trudeau vowed to use every tool to combat Islamophobia in the country. Taking to Twitter, the Canadian prime minister said that Islamophobia has “no place in any of our communities” and the insidious hate must stop.
“I spoke on the phone this evening with @LdnOntMayor and @NTahir2015 about the hateful and heinous attack that took place in London, Ontario yesterday. I let them know we’ll continue to use every tool we have to combat Islamophobia - and we’ll be here for those who are grieving,” Trudeau tweeted.