London

Muslim family killed in London, Ont., attack to be honoured with 5 days of events for 1-year mark

Nearly a year since four members of the Afzaal family were killed in a vehicle attack in London, Ont., five days of events starting June 3 have been organized to honour them.

The events for the Afzaal family are set to go June 3-8

Yumna Afzaal, 15, Madiha Salman, 44, Talat Afzaal, 74, and Salman Afzaal, 46, left to right, were out for an evening walk in London, Ont., last year when they were run over by a truck in what police say was an attack motivated by anti-Muslim hate. A young boy survived. The family will be honoured next month in five days of events in the city. (Submitted by the Afzaal family)

Nearly a year since four members of the Afzaal family were killed in a vehicle attack in London, Ont., five days of events starting June 3 have been organized to honour them and bring attention to the issue of Islamophobia.

The City of London and a number of organizations, including the London Muslim Mosque, Youth Coalition Combatting Islamophobia and the Muslim Wellness Network are hosting the events June 3-8.

"Lives were lost as a result of Islamophobia" said Selma Tobah with the youth coalition. "It's really necessary for the city to commemorate what happened and to really have an understanding as to how it is that we got to that point." 

People paid their respects to the Afzaal family in London, Ont., following an attack that left four members dead. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

On June 6, 2021, the Afzaal family was struck by a truck on Hyde Park Road in what the police described as a crime motivated by anti-Muslim hate. Talat Afzaal, Salman Afzaal, Yumna Afzaal and Madiha Salman died, while a young boy survived.

The event shocked the nation and shined a light on the effects of unchecked Islamophobia. 

'The nature of Islamophobia in London'

"The events really, I think, have a number of goals," Tobah added. "I think not only remembering the Afzaal family, remembering what happened on June 6 of last year but also really having, I guess, a public conversation about the nature of Islamophobia in London." 

Youth Coalition Combatting Islamophobia is hosting a march on June 5 from Oakridge Secondary School to the London Muslim Mosque, and a vigil on June 6. 

The London District Catholic School Board and the Thames Valley District School Board are hosting a walk for students, and the ​​Islamic Social Services Association King's College and the Muslim Resources Centre for Social Support and Integration are hosting two workshops focused on anti-Islamophobia, on June 7 and 8. 

Selma Tobah with the Youth Coalition Combatting Islamophobia is helping to organize two events next month to mark the first year since the attack. (Submitted by Selma Tobah )

There will also be an art gallery and prayer services, hosted by the London Muslim Mosque.

"I really hope Londoners take the opportunity to show their solidarity, and really come out to learn about the issues affecting the Muslim community," said Tobah.

A 21-year-old man has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, with associated terrorism charges. He's expected to go to trial next year.

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