The hit-and-run deaths of a Muslim family in London, Ont., in what police believe was a targeted attack is drawing condemnation from members of the Muslim community, interest groups and politicians across Canada as condolences poured in to those affected.
Five members of the same family, ranging in age from nine to 74 years old, were out on a Sunday evening walk when the driver of a pickup truck hopped a curb and crashed into them. All but a nine-year-old boy, who remains in hospital with serious injuries, were killed. Their names haven't yet been released on request of the family.
Nathaniel Veltman, 20, of London, Ont., was charged Monday with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. He was arrested late Sunday in a shopping mall's parking lot a short distance from the scene of the incident.
Police believe the family was targeted because they are Muslim.
London Mayor Ed Holder, speaking out Monday, didn't mince words.
"Let me be clear: This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Muslims — against Londoners — and rooted in unspeakable hatred," he said. "The magnitude of such hatred can make one question who we are as a city, and who we are as Londoners. It's up to us — all of us — to answer that question, through not only our words, but our actions. We can say 'this isn't who we are,' and I know that to be true."
He also stressed that action is needed, as words "are not enough. We must demonstrate, behave, and act on those words. This act of unspeakable hatred, this act of Islamaphobia, must be followed by acts of compassion, acts of kindness, acts of empathy, acts of solidarity — justice — and, above all else, love."
Social media reaction to the tragedy has also been pouring in: