Muslim youth organize vigil so Hamilton can 'collectively grieve' after London truck attack
Vigil will be held at Bayfront Park starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday
A group of Muslim youth has organized a vigil in Hamilton on Wednesday night so people can "collectively grieve" Sunday's attack in London, Ont., that left four family members dead and a nine-year-old hospitalized.
The vigil and physically distanced Maghrib, or sunset prayer, will be held at Bayfront Park in front of the gazebo, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Gachi Issa, one of the organizers, said participants will pray and speak about what happened, its significance, and "our collective grief and anger."
"The purpose of this is to be with our community and to grieve collectively. It's one of the ways that we can process together," she said, adding that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to mourn together has largely been lost.
On June 6, the family was waiting to cross the street while on an evening walk in their neighbourhood, when a driver in a black truck slammed into them, killing Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal, and Salman's 74-year-old mother, according to police.
Salman and Madiha's son, Fayez, 9, was the sole survivor and remains in hospital.
London police have charged a man with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Police have said the attack was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate, and the victims were targeted because of their faith.
Issa, 22, said the news left her angry and tired.
"It feels like a pattern. I'm angry at people who let this happen. I'm angry at white supremacists, I'm angry at politicians who can vote against a motion to condemn Islamophobia, I'm mad at media outlets that promote Islamophobia."
Issa also pointed to the preliminary findings of a survey at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., that the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said uncovered the remains of an estimated 215 children, saying "it just feels like a continues cycle of violence on Muslim, Indigenous, Black and racialized people."
We will be gathering at Bayfront park to commemorate the lives of the Muslim family attacked in London Ontario on Sunday night, killing 4 and critically injuring the youngest of the family. May Allahﷻ have mercy on their souls and grant them Jannah Ameen. <a href="https://t.co/l7DGHN4dC3">pic.twitter.com/l7DGHN4dC3</a>—@MacMPJ
'We were all devastated'
Sahra Soudi was at home on Monday on a call with friends when she heard about the London attack.
"We were all devastated, but the feeling [was] familiar because we had been through something like this before," she said.
"Our communities are very used to grief and grieving for our community members."
Soudi said it's not an isolated incident, adding it brought her and her friends back to other times their community was attacked for their beliefs.