Canadian PM Justin Trudeau calls killing of Muslim family 'terrorist attack'

Published June 8, 2021
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a moment of silence in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, in response to the recent events in London, Ontario. — AP
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a moment of silence in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, in response to the recent events in London, Ontario. — AP

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday labelled as a “terrorist attack” the killing of four members of a Muslim family, who were run down by a man driving a pick-up truck.

“This killing was no accident. This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities,” Trudeau said during a speech at the House of Commons.

The 20-year-old suspect, arrested shortly after the attack, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, while several leaders of the Muslim community have called on the courts to classify the episode as an act of terrorism.

Officials have already said the Sunday evening incident in the city of London in Canada's central Ontario province was premeditated and motivated by “hatred”.

Trudeau promised to take more action to dismantle far-right groups, saying "we'll continue to fight hate online and offline ... [including] taking more action to dismantle far-right hate groups, like we did with the Proud Boys by adding them to Canada's terror listing."

Canada's Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair described the attack as a “horrific act of Islamophobia”.

“They believe the family was targeted because of their faith, and that the attacker was motivated by his hatred of Muslims,” he said.

The attack occurred as five family members were walking together along a sidewalk when a black pick-up truck “mounted the curb and struck” them as they waited to cross the intersection, according to police.

'Targeted because of Muslim faith'

The four people killed represent three generations of the same family, according to London Mayor Ed Holder.

A nine-year-old boy was also hospitalised following the attack and was recovering.

“We all hope the little boy can recover from his injuries quickly, even though we know he will live a long time with the sadness, incomprehension and anger caused by this cowardly Islamophobic attack,” Trudeau said, briefly switching to French.

The Muslim Association of Canada has called on authorities to “prosecute this horrific attack as an act of hate and terrorism.”

The suspect, identified as Nathaniel Veltman, who was wearing a vest “like body armour”, was arrested at a mall seven kilometers from the intersection where the attack happened, said Detective Superintendent Paul Waight.

The episode brought back painful memories of a Quebec City mosque mass shooting in January 2017 and a driving rampage in Toronto that killed 10 people in April 2018, among others.

“They were all targeted because of their Muslim faith,” Trudeau said. “This is happening here, in Canada. And it has to stop.”

Bouquets of flowers have been placed at the scene of the attack and a vigil in memory of the victims is set to take place later on Tuesday.

Opinion

Story of the last tamarind leaf
Updated 22 Jun 2021

Story of the last tamarind leaf

These journalists speak for all the troubled features of India’s democracy that Mr Modi didn’t tell the G7 about.
Understanding abuse
Updated 22 Jun 2021

Understanding abuse

Condemnations have been rare while there is no debate on the prevalence of such abuse beyond the Mufti Azizur Rehman case.
The roots of hate
Updated 21 Jun 2021

The roots of hate

The reference to being ‘out-populated’ is a popular theme in modern neo-Nazi and white supremacist thought.

Editorial

Describing OBL
22 Jun 2021

Describing OBL

FM Qureshi’s non-committal reply to question about Osama being a terrorist or a martyr has sent the wrong message to the world.
22 Jun 2021

A neglected sector

THE PTI legislators joined forces with opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly the other day to take their own...
22 Jun 2021

Air safari

THE resumption of PIA’s air safari flights to Skardu will hopefully attract international and domestic tourists,...
Poll consensus
Updated 21 Jun 2021

Poll consensus

If the govt is reluctant to take part in an APC on poll reforms, then it must ensure that parliament can be used for this purpose.
21 Jun 2021

Global displacement

THE number of globally displaced persons shared by the UN’s refugee agency in a report released on Friday is...
21 Jun 2021

KP budget

THE KP budget 2021-22 is a sort of please-all document that hands out something to almost everyone in the hope of...