Windsorites come together outside mosque following London, Ont., attack

·2 min read
Windsor Mosque held a drive-in event following the killing of four family members in London in what police say was a hate-motivated attack. (Chris Ensing/CBC - image credit)
Windsor Mosque held a drive-in event following the killing of four family members in London in what police say was a hate-motivated attack. (Chris Ensing/CBC - image credit)

Windsor's Muslim community came together Wednesday to remember the victims of what police say was a hate-motivated attack in London, Ont., that claimed the lives of four family members.

The parking lot of the Windsor Mosque on Dominion Boulevard was full for the event, where people listened to the prayers and speeches while at their vehicles.

Osama Warsi, who is with the Windsor Islamic Association, said the attack has sparked fear in the community but Wednesday's congregational dua helped the community "know that we're not going to stay silent."

"We're going to behave as normal Canadians and we're going to go out for walks," he said on Windsor Morning Thursday.

Chris Ensing/CBC
Chris Ensing/CBC

Five members of the London, Ont., family were out for a walk on Sunday when they were struck by a truck in what police say was a targeted attack due to their Muslim faith.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their daughter Yumna Afzaal, 15, and Salman's mother, Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed. The youngest member of the family, nine-year-old Fayez, survived and remains in hospital. A funeral has been planned for Saturday afternoon.

A 20-year-old man is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

The attack has prompted a national outpouring of grief and support for the Muslim community, along with sharp condemnation of Islamophobia.

At Wednesday's event, the imam of the Windsor Mosque preached a message of defiance and love to the large crowd.

Imam Mohamed Al-Gammali said his children expressed a fear of going for a walk after hearing the news.

He told the crowd the family will make a point of going out daily now, and he want others to do the same.

"That person, he cannot instill the fear inside our heart. He cannot take our freedom. He cannot take the love of this land from our heart."

Several politicians also addressed the crowd, including Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky and Mayor Drew Dilkens.

Chris Ensing/CBC
Chris Ensing/CBC

"Regardless of where this happened, we all know it could have happened right here," Dilkens said.

"These lives matter. They had purpose, and they had meaning. They meant something to one another. They meant something to the community. They meant something to complete strangers, to people who denounce hate in all forms and model behaviour that fosters inclusion."

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