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People attend a prayer vigil outside a mosque in London, Ontario, June 8, 2021, after four members of a Muslim family were killed. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the June 6 killing of the family members, who were mowed down by a pickup truck, "a terrorist attack." CNS photo/Carlos Osorio, Reuters

Church leaders pledge support for Muslims after 'hate' attack on family

By  Brian Dryden, Catholic News Service
  • June 9, 2021

OTTAWA -- Faith communities and politicians condemned an attack on a Muslim family in London, Ontario, that police have labeled a hate crime.

In a statement released on social media hours after police confirmed the targeted killing of four members of a Muslim family that also left an 8-year-old boy seriously injured the Archdiocese of Toronto lamented that Canadians appear to have been targeted because of their faith.

"We join the Muslim community, London Mayor, Ed Holder, and all those who condemn this heinous act of violence," the archdiocese said June 7 while offering prayers and condolences to the family "targeted for their faith."

Bishop Ronald Fabbro of London pledged that the Catholic Church there will work with the Muslim community to root out hate.

"I am horrified by the hate-motivated killing of an innocent Muslim family in London," Bishop Fabbro said. "I unconditionally condemn acts of hatred and violence. People of all faiths, and all people, should always feel safe, everywhere in our country.

"The Catholic community in London offers our support to our Muslim brothers and sisters, pledging to work together with them to end crimes of hate," the bishop added. "I ask the faithful of the diocese to keep the family of those killed and their community in our prayers, asking God to bring them comfort in this time of grief and to grant the full recovery of the survivor."

A London police official told a news conference June 7 that "there is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate." Police arrested a 20-year-old who is alleged to have plowed a vehicle into the family walking in their neighborhood the evening of June 6.

Afterward, political leaders in the Canadian House of Commons echoed Bishop Fabbro when they condemned what London police alleged was a premeditated hate crime.

"We cannot allow any form of hate to take root," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in the House of Commons June 8. "We must confront the ugly face of hatred.

"We know we need to look truth in the face, this hatred does exist in our country," he said of those who dismiss the idea that racism continues to affect many Canadians of different races and faiths.

Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole called the killings a "brutal act of terror" in the House of Commons. New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, who is Sikh and wears a turban, said that people such as himself know what looking different or praying differently can mean in Canada.

"Will I be attacked today just because of the way I look?" Singh asked.

"This is our Canada, we can't deny it," he said of the racism that many Canadians face.

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