The unprovoked attack on a five-member Muslim family in London, Ontario has led to calls for the crime to be designated an act of terror.
Four members of the same family were run over by an attacker while strolling on a busy street in London, Ontario about 580 kilometers from the Canadian capital, Ottawa.
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The attack, the latest in a series of crimes targeting Muslims, has left the usually peaceful Canadian nation in shock. It resulted in the death of a man, his wife and at least one of their children. A fourth child is in hospital recuperating and doctors believe he would make it.
Salman, Madiha and their 16-year-old daughter Yumna of the Afzaal family were on a pedestrian walkway on Sunday when they were ran over by a 20-year-old man driving a pick-up truck. Fayez the youngest of the family is in hospital recovering from his injuries not knowing that his entire family have been wiped out.
Twenty-year old Nathaniel Veltman who carried out the attack which the police described as unprovoked is in court. He faces a four-count charge of first-degree murder and a single count of attempted murder in the attack. Veltman deliberately ran the victims over.
Speaking to newsmen, Paul Waight, a deputy inspector in the London police department said there was “evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act” and that “the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith.”
He said there was no previous contact between the attacker and his victims.
According to a family spokesperson, the ages of the victims ranged from 74 to sixteen.
Ed Holder, the City’s Mayor, described it as the worst mass killing the city had ever witnessed. London Ontario is about 580 kilometers from the Canadian capital, Ottawa from where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his condolences, Monday.
Attacks on Muslims, especially women in hijab, is becoming rampant in some parts of Canada. The French-speaking region of Quebec has enacted a law banning teachers and public servants from wearing the hijab and other religious symbols. Observers say it was deliberately enacted to target Muslims.