Canada·Video

Grief, calls for action from Muslim community after deadly hit and run in London, Ont.

A London, Ont., imam and advocates for Canada's Muslim communities expressed their grief and called for concrete action following a deadly hit and run on Sunday that police believe was a "premeditated" attack on a Muslim family of five.

'We don't want people to be alienated and live in fear,' local imam says

What needs to be done to stop anti-Islamic hate in Canada

1 year ago
Duration 3:10
CEO of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Mustafa Farooq, shares how the attack in London, Ont., is impacting the Muslim community and what needs to be done to stop anti-Islamic hate.

A London, Ont., imam and advocates for Canada's Muslim communities expressed their grief and called for concrete action following a deadly hit and run on Sunday that police say was a "premeditated" attack on a Muslim family of five.

"We don't want people to be alienated and live in fear," Munir El-Kassem, imam of the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, told CBC's Ginella Massa on Monday. "We've got to deal with hatred on the educational front, on the political front, on the social front.

"We've got to prevent this from ever happening again."

A 74-year-old woman, 46-year-old man, 44-year-old woman and 15-year-old girl were killed, while a nine-year-old boy remained in hospital with serious injuries, police said Monday.

WATCH | 'Wave of hatred' must stop, imam says:

Responding to fear with action, not words

1 year ago
Duration 9:25
Imam and community activist Dr. Munir El-Kassem emphasized that simply remembering the victims of hate crimes isn't enough, and that concrete steps must be taken to prevent violence against the Islamic community from becoming a regular occurrence.

Omar Khamissa, manager of community engagement at the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called the incident "unfathomable" and "an immense tragedy."

"Our hearts are broken, our minds are numb," Khamissa told CBC News Network's Andrew Nichols. "They were just out for a walk, just having a good time on a beautiful summer evening [when they were] run down by a car driven by a man who appeared to be filled with hate.

"Make no mistake about it, justice must and will be done for the situation."

WATCH | Deadly hit and run 'unfathomable':

Deadly hit and run 'unfathomable,' National Council of Canadian Muslims representative says

1 year ago
Duration 2:30
Omar Khamissa, manager of community engagement at the National Council of Canadian Muslims, discusses the hit and run that police in London, Ont., say was a targeted attack on a Muslim family that left four dead and a young boy in hospital. Khamissa said 'justice must and will be done.'

Memories of Quebec City, New Zealand attacks

A 20-year-old man was charged Monday with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder; terrorism charges are also possible against Nathaniel Veltman of London, Det.-Insp. Paul Waight said at a news conference.

Human rights advocate Amira Elghawaby said, for the Canadian Muslim community, it's "absolutely shattering to go through this again," referencing the Quebec City mosque shooting in 2017 and the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.

"It's really quite heartbreaking to continuously have to go through and endure and imagine the families that have now to bury their loved ones," she told Massa on Monday.

WATCH | 'Absolutely shattering,' human rights advocate says:

'It is absolutely shattering to go through this again': human rights advocate

1 year ago
Duration 5:36
Speaking with CBC News, human rights advocate Amira Elghawaby shared how painful it has been for Muslim communities to witness another attack against those of their faith after cries for public authorities to take their concerns for their safety more seriously.

Elghawaby said she and her colleagues have been telling police services across Canada to take reports of hate crimes seriously, and that it's "very important" to see the evidence that the killings were motivated by hate.

"We do need our public authorities to tell us and provide us the information, because the fear — that vacuum that we all sort of exist in once something like this happens where we don't know what's going on — is also very dangerous and very frightening."

Elghawaby said the outpouring of love and support from fellow Canadians is deeply appreciated, while El-Kassem commended London Mayor Ed Holder for his support.

"I think he described it as it is: it's a mass murder, it's an act of terrorism, it's an act that should be called for what it is," El-Kassem said.

"This is Canada and we want to keep it a peaceful and loving country for our children."

WATCH | Questions of safety not new for Canada's Muslim communities, official says:

Questions of safety not new for Canada's Muslim communities, official says

1 year ago
Duration 8:58
Nadia Hasan, the chief operating officer of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said the hit and run that police in London, Ont., say was a targeted attack on a Muslim family that left four dead and a young boy in hospital will reverberate in Canadian Muslim communities for a long time.

El-Kassem, who said he spoke with relatives of the victims, also shared a message that he and three other local imams sent out to the London community.

"We've got to bring our Islamic values, our Canadian values, put them into action and make sure that everybody is not reacting in a negative way, but rather to use this as an opportunity to work together to affect a real change that probably through the passing of these four individuals, we will be able to solve a major global problem," he said.

"It's OK to grieve and we have to grieve. And I have to tell you, I cried and many other members of the community leaders who were present this morning with the police and with the mayor, many of them cried because this is not something easy that we can take."

LISTEN | Mayor mourns 'three generations of family wiped out':

London, Ont., Mayor Ed Holder offers his condolences after four members of a Muslim family were killed in a hit-and-run on Sunday. Police have charged a 20-year-old man with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in what they say was a “planned, premeditated act." A nine-year-old boy, who survived, is in hospital.

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