United Way Elgin Middlesex was horrified and deeply saddened by the deadly attack on the Afzaal and Salman family. We condemn this act of Islamophobic violence, and our thoughts are with the young boy who survived while his family did not.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident of hate. There has been a series of attacks such as the Quebec Mosque massacre, the stabbing of a 58-year-old mosque caretaker in Mississauga, the many attacks on Hijabi women, and mosques targeted by vandals.
These attacks follow a disturbing trend of increased hate crimes locally and nationally. The increase in hate in our region reflects a growing international influence of extreme political views and xenophobic hate groups that perpetuate intolerance, lies, and hatred against those of Muslim, Jewish and other faith groups, and against women, newcomers, Chinese, South Asian, Black and Indigenous communities, as well as the LGTBQ community and those with disabilities.
This latest attack against a local Muslim family is an assault on our collective aspirations to build a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community here in London and in communities across the country. Yet another act of violence shows that we still have significant work to root out hate before it causes more harm.
Immediately after the attack, we reached out to our Muslim neighbours, colleagues, and friends to offer our condolences and solidarity. When we attended the vigil held on the steps of the London Muslim Mosque, the call to action from Muslim leaders was loud and clear: All levels of government across the country – federal, provincial, territorial, municipal – must come together for a National Action Summit on Islamophobia and take immediate action to dismantle Islamophobia and systemic Islamophobia.
It was encouraging to see leaders from all parties at multiple levels of government in attendance at the vigil. It was an important demonstration of support and sympathy for a grieving community and an opportunity for us all to hear their call to action.
We are equally encouraged that Federal and local municipal governments answered the London Muslim Mosque in their call for a National Action Summit on Islamophobia between all parties and levels of government. We believe that this summit is instrumental in moving our nation collectively beyond “thoughts and prayers” and toward meaningful action to end Islamophobia and prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.
We value our partnership with local Muslim-led and Muslim–serving organizations and will continue to work with them to ensure this important conversation continues.
Together we grieve for #OurLondonFamily. Together, we unite in condemning Islamophobia, white supremacy, racism and hate in all its forms.