Mayor issues statement of support for Muslim community and condemns an unspeakable act

June 8th, 2021

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward issued the following statement on behalf of the citizens of Burlington,

muslim symbolLast night many of us learned about the devastating and targeted killing of four members of a Muslim family in nearby London, Ontario on Sunday night.

They were out for a simple evening walk together and were targeted for this hate-filled and violent attack specifically because of their faith. Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother were intentionally hit and killed by the driver of a truck. Their nine-year-old son, Fayez Afzaal suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

I am heartbroken and angry at this news, as I know we all are. I have reached out to share my concern and condolences with leaders in our local Muslim community, and reiterate that we welcome and embrace people of all faiths and backgrounds in our city.

A few years ago, I had the honour or visiting the mosque and praying together. If was a beautiful and moving experience, and I’m so grateful for the warm welcome and sincere kindness I received. I know our Muslim community is shaken by this unspeakable act, and they are grieving together; they are also strong and resilient.

As I heard from one member of the Muslim community today: “we can’t allow fear to stop our lives, and our faith commands us to love and to continue to strive for social values.” I know that all of Burlington City Council stands with me, and with our Muslim community in Burlington and across Canada, in grieving this unfathomable loss and denouncing the hatred that is behind it. There is no room for hate of any kind in our country.

We are here to support all the members of our community who are affected by this act of violence in any way we can. Let us acknowledge that we, as Canadians, have work to do to ensure this never happens again. Burlington is a place where people of all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs are welcome.

Last year, Burlington City Council unanimously endorsed the Halton Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Charter, ensuring that our commitment is clear to our community that we support and encourage safe and welcoming communities that reflect the diversity of all residents.

I am heartened by the outpouring of support from across our nation, including the funds being raised online to support young Fayez, now over $500,000 and still going strong. I know all of Burlington joins me in sending our sincere grief and compassion to Mayor Ed Holder, Deputy Mayor Josh Morgan and all our friends in London as they hold a vigil tonight at the London Muslim Mosque. I have reached out to share my concern and condolences with Mayor Holder, on behalf of all residents of Burlington.

As he referenced in his own statement yesterday, we must all take action to condemn this act against our Muslim friends and neighbours, and join together in solidarity, kindness and love

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