Canadian government is taking applications for an anti-Islamophobia envoy, following advocacy efforts from Muslim communities
By MEE staff
On the one-year anniversary of a deadly attack that killed four members of the Afzaal family in London, Ontario, Muslim community leaders are renewing calls for the Canadian government to tackle Islamophobia in the country.
On Monday, delegates met with parliament members in the capital, Ottawa, demanding concrete action to address Islamophobia and hate crimes, reaching all the way up to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who tweeted a photo of a meeting with delegates from the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM).
The meetings between Muslim advocates and parliament members came a day after thousands took to the streets of London for a march to commemorate the anniversary of last year’s killing of four members of the Afzaal family.
Last June, Nathaniel Veltman, 20, deliberately slammed his pick-up truck into Salman Afzaal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; his 74-year old mother Talat; and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna as they were waiting to cross the road. All four family members were killed, with the only survivor being the couple’s nine-year-old son Faez.
The Toronto police chief said at the time that the victims were “targeted because of their Islamic faith”.
The attack placed the Muslim community in Canada in a state of fear, grief and anxiety, renewing the same sorrow many held in the aftermath of a deadly 2017 assault on a Quebec mosque that left six worshippers dead, and a fatal stabbing at another mosque in Toronto in 2020.
The attack, however, did not take place in a vacuum, according to members of London’s Muslim community. In 2020, researchers found the number of hate groups operating in the country had tripled in recent years. Trudeau vowed to tackle the problem and held a national summit on Islamophobia in July 2021.
“This afternoon in London, thousands of people showed up to honour the Afzaal family; to be there for Fayez, who survived; and to march against Islamophobia,” Trudeau tweeted on Sunday. The prime minister attended Sunday’s march.
“In memory of #OurLondonFamily, we must keep working together and using every tool we have to combat this hatred.”
Canada opens call for Islamophobia envoy
In response to calls from Muslim community leaders, the Canadian government has opened up applications for an envoy for combating Islamophobia, a role that would reach out to communities and advise the prime minister and the government on the best ways to fight hate against Muslims in Canada.
“It is impacting Muslim Canadians from across the country,” Minister for Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen said.
Middle East Eye