Several hundred people attended a funeral on Saturday for Muslim family who were killed by a man in a pick-up truck last Sunday in an attack motivated by hate.
The hour-long ceremony started after the four coffins draped in Canadian flags rolled into the compound of the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, and ended with prayers and condolences offered by religious and community leaders. The funeral procession later proceeded for a private burial.
“And the very fact their coffins are draped in the beautiful Canadian flag is an apt testimony of the fact that the entire Canadian nation stands with them,” Raza Bashir Tarar High Commissioner for Pakistan to Canada told the gathering, according to Reuters.
Ali Islam, maternal uncle of Madiha Salman, one of the victims, expressed gratitude for the public outpouring of support from across Canada and beyond, which he said has “confirmed the potential of absolute innate goodness inside humankind.”
“The expressions of raw emotion, the prayers, the quiet tears, the messages of comfort from people we know and from people that are complete strangers — it has been the first step towards finding a way to heal,” he told the crowd of mourners gathered outside a local mosque. “We are not alone in our grief, our sleepless nights, our survivor’s guilt.”
Islam said many have asked his family what they can do to help in the aftermath of the attack. “I ask you to be examples of love and compassion. I ask you to take the time to learn from someone who doesn’t look the same as you. I ask you to inspire others with your affection. Be humble, be true. be persistent, be creative, be brave,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the killings a “terrorist attack” and vowed to clamp down on far-right groups and online hate.
Before the service, Sheikh Aarij Anwer, acting Imam of the London Muslim Mosque, said he was struck by the outpouring of support his community had received from across Canada. “That crime committed was a crime committed in the name of hate and the love that we’ve experienced has allowed us to heal,” he said. “Love conquers hate is a slogan but we’ve seen it in action now. We’ve seen the love conquering hate.”, CP24 reported.
The killings have raised concerns about Islamophobia in Canada .The National Council of Canadian Muslims, a national advocacy group, in an open letter this week called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to host a National Action Summit on Islamophobia “to chart a path forward for Canada in ending violence against Muslims”.
“The summit is a start. The outcome of the summit, in terms of concrete policy, will be the test of whether all governments and political parties are truly committed to preventing further loss of life,” reads the letter, which has been endorsed by dozens of faith-based and civil society groups.
On Friday, the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) introduced a unanimous consent motion in parliament demanding Ottawa convene the emergency summit on Islamophobia before the end of July. The motion was passed, Al Jazeera mentioned.
Interfaith march honors Muslim family
Several thousand people joined an interfaith marched on Friday evening honoring the four members of a Muslim family who were killed in an attack that has shocked Canada. The procession started at the site where three generations of a family were killed in London, southern Ontario, as they were waiting to cross the street.
The march against racism and Islamophobia culminated at London’s mosque, about 7 kilometers (4.5 miles) away. The demonstrators, who included families with children, banged on drums while others sang John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”
After a moment of silence marking the time of the tragedy, representatives from several religions gave speeches denouncing hatred and saluting the outpouring of support for London’s 30,000-strong Muslim community.
Other rallies or vigils in Canada on Friday took place in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec, where a shooting in a mosque left six dead in 2017, according to France 24.