July 25, 2021

In Canada, car-ramming suspect on Muslim family charged with terrorism

The man suspected of having killed four members of a Muslim family and injured a fifth in a car-ramming attack on June 6 in Canada has been charged with terrorism, the charges revealed on Monday (June 14) during a ‘a brief court hearing in London, Ontario.

The suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, aged 20, had already been indicted, at a first hearing held last week, with four counts, among which “murder with premeditation” and “attempted murder”. The attack to which he had carried out had for memory been qualified as an act “Terrorist” by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “This murder was not an accident. It was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities ”, had thus declared Mr. Trudeau in front of the Parliament of his country, promising in particular to reinforce the fight against the extremist groups.

On Sunday June 6, at around 8:40 p.m., the five members of the Afzaal family were waiting to cross a crossroads, when a black pickup was “Climbed onto the sidewalk and got them[vait] hit “, as reported by the police. Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife, Madiha, 44, their daughter, Yumna, 15, and the latter’s grandmother, Talat, 74, were killed. The couple’s 9-year-old son Fayez, who was seriously injured, survived.

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Many tributes

This tragedy shook the Muslim community in Canada. Many vigils or demonstrations of support took place across the country. Several thousand people also took part on Friday evening in an ecumenical march through the streets of London, which has a Muslim community of some 30,000 people. A tribute was also held in Quebec, where a shooting in a mosque left six dead, in January 2017.

A final solemn tribute to the Afzaal family was paid on Saturday in London. Several hundred people, gathered in a large parking area as well as on a football field near an Islamic center, attended an open-air ceremony in front of the four coffins, symbolically covered with the Canadian flag.

The attack raised questions about Islamophobia in Canada and raised concerns among the Muslim community that identifying the religious affiliation of its members could make them targets.

Several Canadian Muslim organizations have called for a summit on Islamophobia. They could be satisfied, insofar as Canadian MPs adopted, at the end of last week, the non-binding motion presented by the New Democratic Party (NDP, left) and provided for this purpose.

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The World with AFP