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Muslim victims of truck attack given farewell with coffins draped in Canadian flags

WorldJun 12, 2021 09:46PM ET
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5/5 © Reuters. Flag-wrapped coffins are seen outside the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, during a funeral of the Afzaal family that was killed in what police describe as a hate-motivated attack, in London, Ontario, Canada June 12, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio 2/5

By Carolos Osorio

LONDON, Ontario (Reuters) - Several hundred mourners joined a public funeral service on Saturday to bid farewell to a Canadian Muslim family run over and killed by a man in a pick-up truck last Sunday in an attack the police said was driven by hate.

The hour-long ceremony started after the four coffins draped in Canadian flags rolled into the compound of the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, and ended with prayers and condolences offered by religious and community leaders.

The four victims, spanning three generations, were killed when Nathaniel Veltman, 20, ran into them while they were out for an evening walk near their home in London, Ontario. A fifth family member, a 9-year-old boy, is recovering from his injuries in the hospital.

Police have said the attack was premeditated and allege the family was targeted because of their Islamic faith.

The funeral procession later proceeded for a private burial.

"And the very fact their coffins are draped in the beautiful Canadian flag is an apt testimony of the fact that the entire Canadian nation stands with them," Raza Bashir Tarar High Commissioner for Pakistan to Canada told the gathering.

The family moved to Canada from Pakistan some 14 years ago.

The attack sparked outrage across Canada, with politicians from all sides condemning the crime, spurring growing calls to take action to curb hate crime and Islamophobia. The city of London, 200 km (120 miles) southwest of Toronto, has seen an outpouring of support in the aftermath of the attack.

That has given some hope to the grieving community to look beyond the tragedy.

"Irrespective of colour and creed, the expressions of raw emotion, the prayers, the quiet tears, the messages of comfort from people we know and from people that are complete strangers, it has been the first step towards finding a way to heal," Ali Islam, maternal uncle of Madiha Salman, one of the victims, told the gathering.

Veltman, who returns to court on Monday (NASDAQ:MNDY), faces four charges of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the killings a "terrorist attack" and vowed to clamp down on far-right groups and online hate.

"I think we're emotionally exhausted," Imam Aarij Anwer told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp before the ceremony. "We're looking forward to having some closure on Saturday."

Muslim victims of truck attack given farewell with coffins draped in Canadian flags
 

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Comments (7)
Ad Cline
Ad Cline Jun 13, 2021 3:51AM ET
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yes. the far right community needs to change their terrorist mentality.
gaddam prashanth
gaddam prashanth Jun 13, 2021 2:28AM ET
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a lot to come if that community ll not change their terrorist mentality.. innocent people will die like this..
Casey Connor
Casey Connor Jun 13, 2021 1:36AM ET
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Rmember september 11th
Hung Pham
Hung Pham Jun 13, 2021 1:36AM ET
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Liberals dont care about 9/11. They been brainwashed that it never existed
Stark Stal
Stark Stal Jun 13, 2021 1:36AM ET
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Remember the genocide of indigenous people of North and South America? who did it?
Hung Pham
Hung Pham Jun 13, 2021 1:35AM ET
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Why Are people killed by Muslim terrorists not getting the same respect and farewell. Liberals and their fake outrage lol
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Jun 12, 2021 10:39PM ET
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I don't get the - all Canadians part. Statements like that throw fuel on the fire that burns in some. It makes me wonder if the media game is to make a buck deliberately agitating people until someone explodes, and then make a buck off the explosion. Then rinse & repeat.
Al Gore
Al Gore Jun 12, 2021 10:34PM ET
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very good
M. Turner
M. Turner Jun 12, 2021 8:40PM ET
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If a non muslim was murdered in a muslim country, no one there could care less. Canadians are such wimps.
 
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