'We can't even walk on the street': Winnipeg Islamic community holds vigil, calls for change in wake of London, Ont., attack
WINNIPEG -- Members of the Islamic community in Winnipeg are mourning the deaths of four members of an Ontario family killed in an alleged targetted attack.
About 250 vehicles packed the parking lot of the Winnipeg Grand Mosque on Thursday evening in the wake of the hit-and-run in London, Ont.
Salman Afzaal, his wife Madiha, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and Salman's 74-year-old mother were killed when a truck mounted a curb and hit them.
Nine-year-old Fayez Afzaal survived and is recovering.
"People need to know that real lives are affected and impacted – we now have to pick up the pieces of our community's heart and put it back together," said Shahina Siddiqui, the executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association.
The vigil was organized by the Manitoba Islamic Association to honour the Afzaal family. Amid the mourning were calls for change.
"I believe there will be a next one if we don't do anything," Siddiqui said.
She pointed to previous attacks in Canada, including a 2017 shooting at a Quebec mosque that killed six Muslim men.
"It is unfortunate that something so horrific has to happen and over and over again," she said.
"We've come to this now. We can't even walk on the street."
Organizers at the vigil called for Canadian leaders to immediately address hate, racism and Islamophobia.
Eleven-year-old Ali was at the rally with his parents and four siblings. He said he would like to see Canadians make some changes in their own lives.
"If people would respect one another, instead of hurting each other because this has been going on for way too long," he said.
It's a call for change he says is needed before history repeats itself once again.
A funeral for the four members of the Afzaal family is planned for this Saturday in London.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, is facing four counts of first-degree murder in connection to the attack. The charges have not been proven in court.