Israr Ahmed speaks at a vigil at the Whitehorse Mosque to honour the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on June 10. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

Israr Ahmed speaks at a vigil at the Whitehorse Mosque to honour the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on June 10. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

Yukoners gather to honour Muslim family killed in London

Like many communities across the country, Yukoners came together to honour the Muslim family murdered in London Ontario

A vigil was held at the Whitehorse Mosque on June 10 to honour the family that was recently killed in London, Ontario.

Salman Afzaal, 46, Madiha Salman, 44, their daughter Yumna Afzaal, 15, and Talat Afzaal, Salman’s mother were killed when they were struck by a truck.

The family’s son, Fayez, nine, survived the attack and remains in hospital.

Local police have alleged they were deliberately hit because they were Muslims.

Like many communities across the country, Whitehorse came together to stand with their London family on Thursday afternoon in the mosque parking lot.

“Salman Afzaal, when he came to this country in 2017, he would never have imagined that his dreams would be extinguished in the blink of an eye,” said Israr Ahmed to the gathered crowd. “That his dreams and hopes of a better life, a better future, a life with honour, a life of dignity would be taken from him, in the blink of an eye.

“Madiha never imagined that her life would meet such a brutal end. She would never have imagined that she’d fall prey to a demented and perverted ideology. Fayez never would have imagined he would wake up in a hospital bed, and never see his family again.

“All of these lives stolen and I ask for what?”

The hearts of those in London, in Whitehorse and elsewhere are broken, said Ahmed. The hate needs to stop.

“Hate has no place in humanity, it has no place in any society,” said Ahmed. “But we have a vicious cycle going on. We have this colonial hangover that we suffer from. That perpetuates this cycle of hate that claims victims every year.”

Ahmed told the crowd to call it what it is — a terrorist attack.

“It was aimed at attacking and putting fear in the hearts of Muslims,” he said. “It was aimed at making people feel unwelcome and looking over their shoulder every time they walked down the street.”

Before he left the stage, Ahmed urged the crowd to be “cognizant of any form of extremism in our societies.”

Kazim Qadir said he hopes this incident isn’t just the topic of the day, week or month.

“I hope us and our leaders do our part to fight the fight against Islamophobia,” said Qadir, who said this can be achieved through education.

“No religion or race deserves to be labeled as a terrorist. Unfortunately, Islam and Muslims have been equated with that more commonly, more freely since 9/11. That needs to change.”

Qadir said Islam is a religion of peace and it preaches “nothing but peace, like many other religions.”

The outpouring of support for the Muslim community has been incredible, he added.

“The support you are showing and the support Canada is showing is incredible and overwhelming,” said Qadir. “It goes to show the Muslim community is not alone in this tragedy. Most Canadians reject any violence of any shape.”

In grappling with the question of how someone could perform an act of “such hatred” Qadir said the perpetrator didn’t just take four lives.

“He killed three generations,” said Qadir.

Gurdeep Pandher said it’s been a heavy week with “profound grieving.” Ten days before the attack in London, 215 children were found buried at a Kamloops residential school.

“Now we are trying to understand what motivated this person to engage in such a horrific act that took away the lives of a whole family,” said Pandher.

Pandher said it isn’t just a loss for the Muslim community, but it’s shared loss and shared grieving.

“We are all humans,” said Pandher. “We came from the same source and we are going back to one source. We need to come together. When we realize that their smiles, their hopes, their tears are the same, we see they are like us and we become closer. Then we become one.”

Also speaking at the vigil was Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker, Mayor Dan Curtis, and MP Larry Bagnell — who sent their sympathies to the people of London.

The three leaders echoed the same sentiments: that the Yukon condemns such hatred in the territory and that our diversity is to be a source of pride.

“I feel safe in this community and I want everyone to feel safe in this community,” said Curtis. “You aren’t just welcomed here, you’re loved here.”

Contact John Tonin at john.tonin@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Yukon paleontologists Grant Zazula (left) and Elizabeth Hall (right) examine mammoth fossils in Whitehorse on June 10. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Mammoth bones discovered at Dawson mine site

“So this is just a start, hopefully, we’re going to be learning a lot.”

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker plead guilty to offences under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Couple who broke isolation rules to get vaccines in Beaver Creek fined $2,300

Crown and defence agreed on no jail time for Rod and Ekaterina Baker

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for June 16, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
COVID-19 outbreak surges to 50 active cases in the Yukon

Officials urge Yukoners to continue following guidelines, get vaccinated

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

For the second year running, the Yukon Quest will not have 1,000 mile race. Crystal Schick/Yukon News
The Yukon Quest will be two shorter distance events instead of a 1,000 mile race

After receiving musher feeback, the Yukon Quest Joint Board of Directors to hold two shorter distances races instead of going forward with the 1,000 mile distance

It’s been a long time since most Yukoners have seen downtown Skagway. (Andrew Seal/Yukon News file)
What Canada-U.S. border changes could mean for Alaska travel

The federal government is expected to make an announcement on Monday

A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)
City building plans move forward

Council approves procurement going ahead

Most Read