Islamic Relief Canada compiling messages of hope for survivor of London, Ont. attack

Islamic Relief Canada is accepting messages of hope and inspiration for the nine-year-old boy who survived the London, Ont., vehicle attack until end of day Friday.

Organizers say community members had been asking about how they can help and show support for Fayez Afzaal. In response, Islamic Relief Canada created its Letters of Hope for Fayez initiative.

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“The Muslim community has been heartbroken over this attack and we’ve all been collectively grieving the Afzaal and Salman family’s loss. We know it’ll be particularly challenging for Fayez, that’s the nine-year-old boy, in the years ahead and our hearts just go out to him,” Sanam Islam with Islamic Relief Canada told Global News.

“Members of the community were reaching out to us saying they wanted to help him in some way and show their support. So one of our team members came up with the idea of collecting messages from the community to compile in a book that we can then have given to him.”

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Salman Afzaal, 46, Madiha Salman, 44, Yumna Afzaal, 15, and Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed in what police have described as a targeted attack on Muslims. Fayez Afzaal, 9, suffered serious injuries but has since been released from the hospital and is said to be surrounded by extended family as he continues his physical recovery. The suspect in the case is facing terrorism charges.

Read more: Family of London, Ont. attack victims say terrorism charges against accused make sense

Islam says those who wish to contribute to the book of letters are asked to provide hopeful, inspirational messages.

“We’re focusing on positive, encouraging messages that sort of stay away from reminding him of his loss. Basically, we want to focus on encouragement rather than grief at this point for him,” she said.

“We’re actually going to be reviewing the messages and just make sure they’re appropriate and then compiling them in a book that we’ll be giving to the London Muslim Mosque, who will then be giving it to Fayez’s guardians, we hope, by July.”

Islam says by midday Wednesday they had already received over 400 messages.

The deadline to contribute is Friday, June 18 and those looking to send a message can do so online at IslamicRelief.ca/hope.

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