Kay Habib comforts her daughter Leena Qamar at at the location where a family of five was hit by a driver, in London, Ontario, Monday, June 7, 2021. Four of the members of the family died and one is in critical condition. A 20-year-old male has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and count of attempted murder in connection with the crime. (Brett Gundlock/The Canadian Press via AP)

June 8th, 2021 – London, Ontario woke up on Monday to a heinous, premeditated hate crime that took the precious lives of four innocent Muslims as well as hospitalizing a 9-year-old. The deceased family members – may their souls rest in peace – are Salman Afzaal (Husband), Madiha Afzaal (Wife), Yumna Afzaal (Daughter) and Salman’s mother, whose name has been withheld. Fayez Afzaal, the youngest, is now hospitalized and suffers serious injuries from the attack.

On the day of the attack, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau published a series of tweets explicitly calling out the Islamophobia and voicing his solidarity with the Muslim community in Canada, expressing his anger and sharing his grief with the world.

Afterwards, Trudeau took the issue to the House of Commons on Tuesday 8th of June, 2021 to speak about the attack, labeling it as “Terrorist” and “Motivated by Hatred”. Meanwhile, different media outlets from around the world have been following a rather conservative approach, refraining from using strong-worded descriptions and labels as Trudeau when releasing reports about the attack as well as describing the hate-crime as “alleged” or “suspected”; thus, refusing to define the crime for what it truly is: Islamophobic.

“We are all hurting. Please send us your prayers”

Muhsin Kermalli, Executive Director at Naseeha, published a statement on his Instagram platform offering his deepest condolences as well as a helping hand to those in need during these trying times. In a conversation with EMPWR, Muhsin proceeds to state “We all are hurting. Please send us your prayers.”

Going back to the twitter-sphere, Amira Elghawaby shares Afzaal’s family statement, which highlights the importance of standing against crimes of this nature and islamophobia, as well as calling out for “raising awareness in communities and throughout all political spectrums.” The statement continues to emphasize some of the Afzaal’s family qualities and how they were “the model family” within their community. According to the statement, the Afzaal’s family have been often spotted “participating in spreading goodness” and “worked extremely hard in their fields.” The final lines of the statement included a call for government action, to confront the murderous group associated with this tragic crime, as well as for the members of the government and communities to stand in unity against all hate crimes with “a sense of appreciation for humanity and justice”.

 Inna Li Allah, wa Inna Ilayhi Rajiou’un. To Allah we Belong, and to Him we shall return.

The EMPWR staff send their deepest condolences to the Afzaals, and wish Fayez a speedy recovery. 

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