This Sunday, five Muslims of the same family were victims of a ‘premeditated’ hate crime in London, Ontario, in the form of a hit and run. There was only one survivor, currently in hospital with serious injuries. On Monday 7, the police gave a news conference reporting on the matter.
The London Police Service explained their suspicion that this was a pre-meditated [intentional] hate crime. The 20-year-old driver responsible for the murder of the four pedestrians has already been charged by the London Police Service.
The police recount that, on Sunday night, the Muslim family were walking in northwest London, Ontario, when they stopped at the intersection of Hyde Park and South Carriage roads before crossing the road.
At around 8:40 pm ET, Nathaniel Veltman, in a black pick-up truck, drove into the curb where they were standing. 911 received many calls reporting on the murders and emergency crews arrived later at the crime scene.
Veltman, the 20-year-old perpetrator, has been charged with four counts of murder and one of attempted murder. The London Police Service is assessing the possibility of adding terrorism charges to the list.
Detective Superintendent Paul Waight announced that “There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act and that the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith.”
According to BBC, this attack has been the worst against Muslim Canadians since the murders of six in a Quebec mosque back in 2017.
The family members were two middle-aged adults (man, 46, and woman, 44), one older woman (74), a teenage girl (15), and a 9-year-old boy. The only survivor was the 9-year-old boy. It is known that the 74-year-old woman died at the crime scene, while the man and girl in the hospital.
At the request of family members, the names have not been released as of today morning. CityNews reveals that the family were members of the London Pakistani Community. The police have stated that there is ‘no known previous connection between the suspect and the victims’.
What have officials said on the topic?
1. Ed Holder, Mayor of London, Ontario, expressed through a press release: “This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, and rooted in unspeakable hatred. The magnitude of such hatred can make one question who we are as a city and who we are as Londoners. It’s up to us – all of us – to answer that question through not only our words, but our actions. We can say, ‘This isn’t who we are,’ and I know that to be true. Words, though, are not enough. We must demonstrate, behave, and act on those words.”
2. Chief Steve Williams said Sunday’s attack signified a “devastating loss” for the community. “We understand that this event may cause fear and anxiety in the community and in particular the Muslim community and any community targeted by hate. I want to reassure all Londoners that all of us on the call today and many others stand with you and support you,” he declared.
3. At the Monday press conference, Nawaz Tahir, London lawyer and representative of its Muslim community, said: “We will stand strong against hate. We will stand strong against Islamophobia. We will respond to those trying to inflict terror on our community with love. We will survive this test through faith, through love, through our unshakable belief in God and our quest for justice.”
4. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said in a Twitter thread: “I’m horrified by the news from London, Ontario. To the loved ones of those who were terrorized by yesterday’s act of hatred, we are here for you. We are also here for the child who remains in hospital – our hearts go out to you, and you will be in our thoughts as you recover.
To the Muslim community in London and to Muslims across the country, know that we stand with you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable – and it must stop.”
What can we do?
LaunchGood has started an online fundraiser to support the 9-year-old survivor child. One of the members of LaunchGood is cousin to the child.