Thousands march in support of Muslim family killed in truck attack in Canada

Published June 12, 2021
People march the 7km from a crime scene to a mosque in memory of a Muslim family that was killed in what police call a hate-motivated attack in London, Ontario, on June 11. — Reuters
People march the 7km from a crime scene to a mosque in memory of a Muslim family that was killed in what police call a hate-motivated attack in London, Ontario, on June 11. — Reuters
People hold candles during a vigil in memory of a Muslim family that was killed in London, Ontario in what police describe as a hate-motivated attack, in Montreal, Quebec, on June 11. — Reuters
People hold candles during a vigil in memory of a Muslim family that was killed in London, Ontario in what police describe as a hate-motivated attack, in Montreal, Quebec, on June 11. — Reuters

Thousands of people marched on Friday in support of a Canadian Muslim family run over and killed by a man driving a pick-up truck last Sunday in an attack the police described as a hate crime.

The four victims, spanning three generations, were killed when Nathaniel Veltman, 20, ran into them while they were out for an evening walk near their home. A fifth family member, a 9-year-old boy, survived.

People in London, Ontario marched about 7 kilometres from the spot where the family was struck down to a nearby mosque, the site close to where Veltman was arrested by police.

Some carried placards with messages reading 'Hate has no home here', 'Love over hate.' Similar events were held in other cities in Ontario, Canada's most populous province.

After a moment of silence marking the time of the tragedy, representatives from several religions gave speeches denouncing hatred and saluting the outpouring of support for London's 30,000-strong Muslim community.

“The best part was not just the numbers [...] but the diversity of the people coming from every single community in London, coming together for this cause,” said 19-year old college student Abdullah Al Jarad at the march.

The attack sparked outrage across Canada, with politicians from all sides condemning the crime, spurring growing calls to take action to curb hate crime and Islamophobia.

Veltman made a brief court appearance on Thursday and will return to court on Monday. He faces four charges of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the killings a “terrorist attack” and vowed to clamp down on far-right groups and online hate.

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