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Canada: Trudeau attends ceremony, honouring slain Muslim family

8th Jul 2022

Nadine Osman

The Prime Minister of Canada attended a memorial earlier this month to mark the first anniversary of the murder of a Muslim family in London, Ontario.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumnah, and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat, were killed after being deliberately mowed down by a truck during an evening walk on June 6, 2021. The family’s nine-year-old boy was hurt but survived.

Addressing the victim’s relatives, community members, and dignitaries, on June 5, Justin Trudeau spoke about why he believes “words matter” and that society needs to go “beyond tolerance” and work on acceptance. “Words can lead to actions,” he said.

Esa Islam, an Afzaal family cousin, said the attack has left him heartbroken. “Last year, I was never able to understand how all it took was one act of hatred to change my entire life,” he said.

Islam made his remarks before hundreds of mourners who gathered at the football field of the high school his cousin Yumnah attended before her death.

“I miss being able to go over to their house and have fun conversations about Harry Potter with Yumnah,” Islam said.

“I miss the simple things, the things we always take for granted until they’re gone.”
Islam said politicians should follow the supportive words they’ve offered since the tragedy with actions to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.

“I’m tired of not seeing action by the politicians that we elect to lead us, hearing them make unfulfilled promises and speak hollow words of sorrow,” he said.

He singled out Ontario Premier Doug Ford‘s Progressive Conservative Government for not committing to passing a law to fight Islamophobia and other forms of hate in the province.

A bill tabled by the New Democratic Party earlier this year – called the Our London Family Act – would have established a provincial review of hate crimes and hate-motivated incidents in Ontario. The bill, which would also have designated safe zones around houses of worship, prevented white supremacist groups from registering as societies and established an anti-racism council that would provide input on government policies, was defeated shortly after being introduced.

The bill was created with the National Council of Canadian Muslims and follows their recommendations.

“Despite all of the promises we heard last year, one year later, it feels like there’s still unwillingness by our elected leaders to take concrete action against Islamophobia,” Islam said.

Trudeau said people shouldn’t ignore the fact that millions of Canadians face daily microaggressions, discrimination, and systemic racism.

He said his government has taken action to address hate and racism in Canada, but there is more work to be done. “On this day, that we grieve, we also come together in commitment and resolve to make sure that tomorrow and next year, and all the days in the future, are also better,” he said.

“The lives of three generations of the Afzaal family were taken by a brutal, cowardly, and brazen act of terrorist violence.”
A 21-year-old man faces four counts of first-degree murder in the attack. The case has not yet gone to trial. Hundreds of those attending the event later marched to the school of the London Islamic Centre.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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