TORONTO — a clear pickup attack that killed four members of an immigrant family in Canada drew denunciations from Pakistan’s prime minister on Tuesday, who called it a deliberate act of terrorism targeting Muslims.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Twitter that Sunday’s attack reveals the growing Islamophobia in western countries.Canadian authorities said they were investigating potential terrorism charges against the 20-year-old man who was arrested within the parking zone of a close-by mall after a black pickup mounted a curb and struck the victims at an intersection within the Ontario city of London.
The relatives issued a press release identifying the dead as Salman Afzal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; their daughter Yumna, 15, and a 74-year-old grandmother whose name was withheld. A hospitalized boy was identified as Fayez.
“Everyone who knew Salman and therefore the remainder of the Afzal family know the model family they were as Muslims, Canadians and Pakistanis,” the statement said. “They worked extremely hard in their fields and excelled. Their children were top students in their school and connected strongly with spiritual their identity.”
Friends said the family had migrated to Canada 14 years ago. A fundraising webpage said the daddy was a physiotherapist and cricket enthusiast and his wife was performing on a PhD in engineering at Western University in London. Their daughter was finishing ninth grade, and therefore the grandmother was a “pillar” of the family, the page said.
The family said in its statement that the general public must stand against hate and Islamophobia.
“This young man who committed this act of terror was influenced by a gaggle that he related to , and therefore the remainder of the community must take a robust stand against this, from the very best levels in our government to each member of the community,” the statement said.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, was facing four counts of first-degree murder. Police said Veltman, a resident of London, didn’t know the victims.
Detective Supt. Paul Waight said police had not determined if the suspect was a member of any specific hate group. He said London police were working with federal police and prosecutors to ascertain about potential terrorism charges. He declined to detail evidence pointing to a possible hate crime, but said the attack was planned.
Many placed flowers around a light-weight pole and a close-by tree where the truck hopped the curb onto the sidewalk. A vigil was scheduled for Tuesday night at the mosque the family attended.
Rauf Ahmad and three friends watched the growing tribute on the corner.
“I didn’t think there was racism in Canada and that i felt very safe once I came here two years ago, but I don’t feel safe now,” Ahmad said.
“Humanity is first, we should always not care about whether someone may be a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian.”
Canada is usually welcoming toward immigrants and every one religions, but in 2017 a French Canadian man known for far-right, nationalist views went on a shooting rampage at a Quebec mosque that killed six people.
Zahid Khan, a family friend, said the family belonged to the London Muslim Mosque.
“They were just out for his or her walk that they might leave for each day,” Khan said through tears near the location of the crash. “I just wanted to ascertain .”
Mayor Ed Holder said flags would be lowered for 3 days in London, which he said has 30,000 to 40,000 Muslims among its quite 400,000 residents.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair called the attack “an horrific act of Islamophobia” and said federal resources are available to help London police in their investigation, if they require it.