Relatives of a Pakistani-Canadian Muslim family killed in London, Ontario, are urging the community to oppose racism and Islamophobia. A man rammed the family with his pick-up truck this week. Moreover, as per the police, hate had motivated him. It is heart wrenching that the family of the Third-grader Fayez Afzaal is dead.
The four family members killed on Sunday were: Salman Afzaal, 46; his wife, Madiha Salman, 44; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna Afzaal; and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother. The family did not release her name. Meanwhile, their 9-year-old son, Fayez Afzaal, remained hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Meanwhile, a 20-year-old suspect named Nathaniel Veltman is in police custody. Moreover, the police charged him with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Besides, relatives of the victims disputed an initial police appraisal that the accused man. He was not a member of any hate group and had no accomplices.
“A group influenced the young man who committed this act of terror. The rest of the community must take a strong stand against this,” they said in a statement. However, they did not identify the group or explain how they know about the alleged ties.
“We need to stand against hate and Islamophobia. We need to raise awareness in our communities and across all the political spectrum,” they added.
“Everyone who knew Salman and the rest of the … family know the model family they were as Muslims, Canadians, and Pakistanis. They were always there giving and participating in spreading goodness,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, police, citing witnesses, said Veltman jumped the curb in his vehicle and struck the family in a planned Terrorist attack. However, Fayez survived the attack.
Fayez knows his entire family is ‘dead’ now
Meanwhile, the relatives of the victims said the children had both been top students and their parents excelled in their fields.
“We are shocked something like this could happen in London. We could never expect that,” Hassib Zabian, a member the London Muslim Mosque frequented by the family, told The Daily Beast.
Meanwhile, Zabian, who is organizing the funeral for the Pakistani Canadian family, described Salman as “humble, respectable, and helpful.” He said Salman would often volunteer at the local mosque. His wife, Madiha, was a Ph.D. candidate at London’s Western University, according to Zabian.
Zabian’s wife, Patricia, is a teacher at the school attended by the Afzaal children, and taught Fayez, who is in the third grade, as his homeroom teacher.
“He is everybody’s best friend,” Patricia told The Daily Beast, referring to Fayez. “Very smart, grade-A student. Polite, calm, and shy.”
Patricia also knew Fayez’s older sister, Yumna. She was in her first year of high school after graduating from the school she had attended since second grade.
“She had painted a mural in the basement of the mosque. It’s still there. She had said this was going to be her legacy after she painted it. She spent the whole summer painting this beautiful mural on the wall, and she will be remembered with that,” said Patricia, adding that Yumna “was quite the artist.”
Moreover, Patricia said the last she heard about her student, Fayez, was that he was about to get transferred to a hospital in Toronto and is scheduled for surgery.
“We’re all trying to find a way to help Fayez,” she said for the Muslim third-grader whose family is dead now. “He has been told his family has passed, and he took it very hard.”
Story Credits: The Daily Beast
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