London

London city council passes motion to condemn Islamophobia

London city council unanimously passed a motion Monday that condemns Islamophobia in the wake of the June 6 attack that killed four members of the southwestern Ontario city's Muslim community.

Motion calls on national summit and a way to honour victims of June 6 attack

A memorial forms at the intersection of Hyde Park and S. Carriage Roads a day after a family of four was hit and killed June 6 in an attack Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called an ‘act of terrorism.' (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

London city council unanimously passed a motion Monday that condemns Islamophobia in the wake of the June 6 attack that killed four members of the southwestern Ontario city's Muslim community.

The motion moved by Councillors Arielle Kayabaga and Mo Salih calls on civic administration to end Islamophobia, and honour contributions to the city by members of the Muslim community. 

An amendment to the emergent motion by Mayor Ed Holder and Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan further calls for a national action summit on Islamophobia. 

Salih, who is Muslim, said support for the community in the wake of the attack is appreciated. However, he also said the hate that police say led to the attack needs to be confronted. 

'London, we have a problem'

"I'm comforted by the fact that when hate shows up, Londoners drown it out with love," said Salih. "But we need to face the reality that for many Muslim Londoners who love London, at times we haven't felt the love back. Simply for existing, simply for being Muslim. Islamophobia is real.

"The countless stories we've heard from Londoners ... should be a clear picture that London is not perfect. I'm hear to call out my own city. London, we have a real problem." 

Four members of the Azfaal family were killed on Sunday, June 6, when they were run down by a pickup truck in an attack police say was motivated by hate. The say the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and Salman's mother, Talat Afzaal died in the attack. Also killed was the couple's daughter 15-year-old Yumna Afzaal. Her brother nine-year-old brother survived and has been released from hospital. 

Ward 3 Coun. Mo Salih said the attack on the Afzaal family shows London has a lot of work to do when it comes to accepting people who share his Muslim faith. (Sofia Rodriguez/CBC)

The attack has triggered an outpouring of support for the Muslim community, but also highlighted underlying racism and violence many say has been a problem in London and across Canada.

A 20-year-old London man is facing four counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder along with terrorism charges. 

"When hate shows up in our city, we have to stand together and fight it back," said Kayabaga. "A lot of people came here to support us, but when they are gone, we have work to do. This is the city that we live in."

Coun. Anna Hopkins said the motion is the first step in a long road toward healing from last week's attack.

"Supporting this motion is easy to do," she said. "The hard work is how we will change."

After the motion was passed, council paused for a moment of silence in honour of the victims. 

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