Ombudsman’s statement condemning Islamophobia
As Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, I mourn the tragic killing of Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and Salman's 74-year-old mother, on June 6th, when the family was out for an evening walk in London, Ontario. Fayez Afzaal, 9, survived the attack and is recovering from serious injuries.
I vehemently condemn this hate-motivated killing where an innocent family was targeted over their Muslim faith. Islamophobia has no place in Canada, nor do such cowardly acts of terrorism. We grieve collectively with the impacted community, the loved ones, family, and friends and we hope for their healing and peace.
It is clear that we have much work to do in Canada to dismantle and address racism and hatred. We must not burry our heads in the sand, and deny that intolerance exists here. Muslim Canadians continue to live in fear of violence, when they should have a right to live in dignity, safety and security. We know that in the last several years, Statistics Canada has documented a marked increase in reported hate crimes, with data from 2019 indicating more incidents targeting the Muslim population.
My Office appeals to everyone to heed the words of the Afzaal family who called on Canadians to "stand against hate and Islamophobia in favour of humanity’’. Take a stand against casual racism when you observe it so that it does not lead to physical acts of violence. Stand up against the ‘othering’ that happens frequently to communities of colour in Canada. Be actively anti-racist in your daily life, which means becoming actively conscious about race and racism and taking actions to end racial inequities in your life. Being antiracist is believing that racism is everyone’s problem, and we all have a role to play in erasing it. You can learn more here: https://stopracism.ca/