Nearly two days after four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont. were killed in what police described as a targeted and hate-motivated act, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a “terrorist attack.”
The prime minister, spoke in the House of Commons on Tuesday, calling the attack “a brutal, cowardly, and brazen act of violence.”
“This was no accident,” he said. “This was a terrorist attack, motivated by hatred, in the heart of one of our communities.
On Sunday evening, police said a pickup truck, driven by a 20-year-old London man, mounted a curb, and struck the family of five as they were out for an evening walk, and then drove away.
Police have not released the names of the victims, but a statement released by the family late Monday identifies them as Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother.
The couple’s nine-year-old son Fayez was seriously injured but is expected to survive.
Nathaniel Veltman has been arrested and charged with murder in the attack.
Prime Minister Trudeau spoke Monday with the mayor of London and representatives of the local Muslim community, to express his condolences and discuss the urgency of how to keep communities safe across the country.
This includes, “more action to dismantle far-right hate groups, like what we did with the Proud Boys by adding them to Canada’s terror list,” he said.
A vigil is scheduled for Tuesday night at the mosque of the five family members at the London Muslim Mosque.
Prime Minister Trudeau and all of the other federal party leaders will be in attendance at the vigil.
Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole and Quebecois Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchett arrived in London on the Prime Minister’s plane.
NDP Leader Jasmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul also attended. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is also expected to be present.
Premier Ford said earlier in the day that the government is working with the local health unit to temporarily ease COVID-19 restrictions to allow people to gather at prayers.
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