For Canada‘s Afzaal family, the morning of June 7 was the beginning of just another peaceful day, but as fate had it, the evening brought a pain that will never be forgotten. On Sunday evening four members of this Pakistani-Canadian family were mowed down by a speeding truck. It was not a hit-and-run attempt, it was not a road crash. The act, according to the authorities, was “planned, premeditated, motivated by hate”. A “terrorist attack”, as rightly put by Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. The accused, police say, is a 20-year-old Islamophobic.
The family that was living a peaceful life in one corner of the world and was slaughtered for no reason is survived by a nine-year-old boy, who is battling for his life in a hospital.
Sadly, Afzaal will wake up to this tragedy and world without his family, his father Salman Afzaal, mother Madiha Salman, sister Yumna Afzaal (15), and his grandmother Talat Afzaal.
Detective Superintendent Paul Weight, who is investigating the case, said that it was a “premeditated attack” and a 20-year-old suspect wearing a vest “like body armor” was arrested at a mall seven kilometers (four miles) from the intersection in Ontario. The suspect does not have a criminal record, and is not known to be a member of a hate group, Reuters reported, quoting police.
Several thousand Canadians are now marching on the streets to demand justice for the family. The brutal killing of the Muslim family has also led to a peaceful protest march in London, the native place of the alleged attacker. The demonstrators marched toward a mosque in the city while singing John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance”.
The family immigrated from Pakistan about 14 years ago, according to media reports.
The attack was the worst against Canadian Muslims since a man gunned down six members of a Quebec City mosque in 2017. London Mayor Ed Holder said it was the worst mass murder his city had ever seen.
While legal justice and protests are a way to address the issue and create sensitivity among the masses about communities who have long been subjected to violence and humiliation, one should spare a thought for the nine-year-old boy Faez Afzaal whose life will never be the same.