Muslim truck victims were farewell to Canadian flag-drapped coffins – A crowd of about two hundred people turned out on Saturday to pay their respects to a Muslim family who was run over and killed by a man in a pick-up truck, whose motives the police described as being fuelled by hate.
The four coffins draped in Canadian flags entered the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario compound, where they remained while mourners held an hour-long ceremony. During the ceremony, religious and community leaders offered condolences and prayers.
When 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman ran into three different families while they were out for an evening walk near their home in London, Ontario, all four victims were killed. His injuries are currently keeping him in the hospital, as a 5th family member, a 9-year-old boy, has recovered.
Family members have been the target of an alleged premeditated attack because of their Islamic faith, police say.
The funeral procession proceeded to the gravesite where a private burial took place.
Speaking at the funeral, the High Commissioner for Pakistan in Canada said, “While their coffins are draped in the beautiful Canadian flag, this shows that the entire nation of Canada stands with them.”
They’ve been in Canada for about 14 years, having come from Pakistan.
As a result, politicians on both the left and the right in Canada criticized the crime, and there was an increased demand for stronger measures to counter hate crimes and Islamophobia. Following the recent attack in London, the city of London, located approximately 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Toronto, has seen an outpouring of support.
The notion that the community can and will come out of the tragedy on the other side has given some hope to those who are grieving.
Ali Islam, maternal uncle of Madiha Salman, one of the victims, told the crowd: “Regardless of race and creed, I have seen the raw expressions of emotion, the heartfelt prayers, quiet tears, and messages of comfort from people we know and from complete strangers. This is where the healing starts.”
He faces four counts of first-degree murder, and one count of attempted murder when he returns to court on Monday.
In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack in Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the attack a “terrorist attack” and vowed to track down and clamp down on far-right groups and hate speech on the internet.
Before the ceremony, Imam Aarij Anwer told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he believed the congregation was emotionally exhausted. We are very excited to know the resolution of our case on Saturday.