Hundreds of Winnipeggers paid a safe and socially-distanced tribute Thursday night to the victims of the London, Ont., truck attack.
The Manitoba Islamic Association held a drive-in vigil in the parking lot of the Winnipeg Grand Mosque on Waverley Street.
Four family members were killed and a fifth was injured when they were struck Sunday in London, Ont., by a pickup truck. The London Police Service has alleged they were deliberately hit because they were Muslims.
The vigil also honoured the six people killed and 19 seriously injured in the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting.
Shaykh Ismael Mukhtar, chair of the Manitoba Islamic Association Religious Advisors Committee, said it’s unfortunate they are mourning another senseless death.
“(Salman) Afzaal and his family did not leave their homeland of Pakistan to face death in the streets of Canada because of their faith and because of who they are,” Mukhtar said.
“There is a responsibility on the shoulders of every single one of us to fight hate in whatever shape and form.”
Winnipeg high school student Leen Alundi says she has friends have been physically abused because of they are Muslims.
“I’m sure many of us have been on walks with our family to escape this lockdown. And to think that a family going for a walk couldn’t make it back home?” Alundi said.
“How many more lives will it take for the world to listen? How many more sacrifices for the world to see and mourn with us?
“Islamophopia is real. This is happening in our own country and we must start talking about these matters. If not, we will be doing nothing but repeating history.”
Shahina Siddiqui, executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association, says it’s time to start the process of healing for the Muslim community and called on Winnipeggers to speak up and stop the hate.
“Our government has to stop giving us statements that are mere slogans and political pandering. We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work for our grandchildren,” Siddiqui said.
“To honour the Afzaal family, let’s make a pledge…that we will stand for justice.”
Twenty-year-old Nathaniel Veltman is facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with the London attack.
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