Demonstrations against “Islamophobia” continued in Canada after the murder of a Muslim family last Sunday in London, Ontario, and calls for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to organize a summit to determine the measures to be taken to combat Islamophobia in the country.
Thousands organized a rally – yesterday, Friday – in support of the Canadian Muslim family, whose 4 members were killed after they were run over by Nathaniel Feltman (20 years) with a pickup truck while they were out for an evening walk near their home, and a fifth member of the family survived, a 9-year-old child.
People in the London area of Ontario walked about 7 kilometers from the place where the family died to a mosque near the place where the police arrested Feltman.
Some of the marchers carried banners that read, “Hate has no place here.” Similar events were also held in other cities in Ontario, Canada’s most populous province.
The attack sparked outrage across Canada, with politicians on all sides condemning the crime; This has prompted growing calls for action to curb hate crimes and Islamophobia.
A group of participants in a protest against hate in Montreal (Reuters)
The danger of Islamophobia
More than 100 people gathered in the courtyard of the Place des Zar complex in the center of Montreal, one of the largest complexes for artistic and cultural performances in Canada, to mourn the victims of the run-over crime that targeted a Muslim family because of their religious affiliation, as confirmed by the London police.
Addressing Imam Hassan Ghia – one of the prominent Islamic figures in the province of Quebec and the rest of Canada – saying, “The time has come to recognize that Islamophobia is also a scourge and we should not be afraid to use this word.”
Imam Ghaya said – in front of the audience of different origins, ages and religions, including Christian and Jewish clergy – “The London attack brought back to memory another bloody attack that targeted worshipers at the Grand Mosque of Quebec on January 29, 2017, killing 6 and causing permanent disabilities to a seventh person. The imam mentioned all of them by name, except for the wounded, and Ghaiya stressed to the audience the importance of education in combating hatred.
It took turns addressing several people to the participants in the gathering; NGO activists, politicians or their representatives, all condemned the Ontario attack and expressed solidarity with Muslim Canadians.
On Thursday, Muslim civil organizations in Canada called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to organize a summit in order to determine the measures to be taken to combat Islamophobia in the country.
This came in a letter signed by 53 Muslim organizations, and supported by the Civil Rights Association in the province of “British Columbia” in western Canada.
The letter stated that the attack – which took place in London, Ontario, on the sixth of this June – “was planned in advance, and is considered a hate-motivated terrorist attack, and it targeted a Muslim family from which only a 9-year-old boy survived.”
The letter also emphasized “the need for fundamental change at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to prevent another attack of this kind.”
The letter touched on Trudeau’s participation in the G7 summit in Britain, and said, “We urge the Canadian government to urgently host a national action summit on Islamophobia that brings together leaders from all levels of the country, and to draw a road map for moving forward to end violence against Muslims.”
The perpetrator of the crime, Feltman, appeared in court for a short period on Thursday, and he will return to court on Monday. Feltman faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. The Canadian prime minister called the crime a “terrorist attack” and vowed to crack down on far-right groups and hate.