World, Americas

Canadian Muslim council urges immediate summit on Islamophobia

Petition garners 22,000 signatures in demand for action

Barry Ellsworth   | 09.06.2021
Canadian Muslim council urges immediate summit on Islamophobia People attend a vigil held for four members of a Muslim family who went out for a Sunday evening walk in London, Ontario and died when a man deliberately drove his truck into them, in London, Ontario, Canada on June 08, 2021. ( Seyit Aydoğan - Anadolu Agency )


A Canadian Muslim group demanded on Wednesday that all levels of the government immediately convene a National Action Summit on Islamophobia.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) established an online petition that has already garnered 22,287 signatures as of early Wednesday afternoon.

The call for action was spurred by the murder of four members of a Muslim family, victims of a hit and run "terrorist attack" on Sunday in London, Ontario.

"We call on all levels of government – federal, provincial, territorial, municipal – across the country to come together for a National Action Summit on Islamophobia to take immediate action on dismantling both violent forms of Islamophobia and systemic Islamophobia," according to a statement.

"These actions are urgent and necessary to ensure that no one else suffers the way #OurLondonFamily has suffered."

The NCCM move followed a vigil Tuesday in London and across Canada, attended by thousands. Several speakers urged politicians to not just express sorrow for the deaths, but to take steps to combat Islamophobia.

Nusaiba Al-Azem from the London Mosque was one who demanded "an immediate action summit on Islamophobia."

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal and Salman Afzaal's 74-year-old mother, Talat, were killed, while their son Fayez, 9, remains in a hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.

They were run down by a truck while taking a walk and were standing at an intersection when a half-ton truck jumped the curb and plowed into them.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was at the vigil in London, said there was no doubt it was a "terrorist attack" motivated by hate.

It was not the first horrendous attack on Muslims on Canadian soil. It was just a little over four years ago on Jan. 29, 2017, when a gunman attacked a Quebec City Mosque, killing six worshippers and wounding 19.

Along with the petition, the NCCM struck a defiant note in its statement.

"We will never be intimidated. We will never stop marching for love, justice, and goodness. We stand with #OurLondonFamily."

No government officials had responded to the call for action as of early Wednesday.

Separately, the US-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on President Joe Biden on Tuesday to condemn and confront the growing phenomenon of global Islamophobia following the attack.

America's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, in a statement, also urged Biden to appoint a special envoy to "monitor and combat Islamophobia, which has spread from America and endangered Muslims in Austria, China, Burma, France, India, Israel, Kashmir, and numerous other countries."

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