The Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law (CAMWL) is devastated and appalled by the targeted killing of the Afzaal family on the evening of June 6, 2021 in London, Ontario. The alleged perpetrator drove his car into the family during their evening stroll for no reason other than that they were Muslim. Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal, and Salman Afzaal's 74-year-old mother, Talat Afzaal died, while their 9-year-old son, Fayez Afzaal, has survived, but remains in the hospital due to his injuries.
We pray for those that were killed, the young survivor, and their loved ones. We pray for the Muslim community in London and across Canada.
This type of attack is not a one-off occurrence, nor an isolated incident. It is part of a larger, global pattern of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric, sentiment, and behaviour that has been fed and sanctioned by governments, the news and entertainment media, and political parties for decades. Canada is no exception when it comes to the pervasive and widespread prejudice and discrimination against Muslims as a result of such messaging and actions.
Below are just a few examples of blatant Islamophobia in Canada:
In 2015, the federal government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper passed a law called the Zero Tolerance For Barbaric Cultural Practices Act. Effects of the law have included the perpetuation of gross stereotypes of Muslims and increased state and public scrutiny against the Muslim community.
In 2017, a domestic terrorist attack was carried out at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, when White nationalist and far-right supporter, Alexandre Bissonnette, shot and killed six worshippers and injured five others in the mosque.
In 2017, Member of Parliament (MP) Iqra Khalid introduced M-103, a non-binding symbolic motion which asked the federal government to condemn Islamophobia in Canada in light of the terrorist attack in Quebec. 91 MPs from the Conservative and Bloc Quebecois parties voted against it. In the course of sponsoring the motion, MP Khalid received 50,000 hate emails, many of them containing direct threats to her life and overt discrimination.
In 2019, the Quebec government passed a law, commonly known as Bill 21, banning individuals working in the public sector from wearing religious “symbols” including the hijab and niqab at work and banning individuals from covering their face when receiving or giving certain public services. Justice Blanchard of the Superior Court of Quebec has identified the law as having disproportionate effects on Muslim women in particular.
In 2020, Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, a Muslim volunteer and caretaker at the International Muslim Organization of Toronto (IMO), a mosque in Toronto, Ontario, was stabbed to death outside the mosque. The alleged perpetrator is suspected to have ties to neo-Nazi groups.
Numerous mosques across Canada have been vandalized, some on a regular basis.
Muslim women, particularly and most recently Black Muslim women in Alberta, have reported numerous instances of being attacked while taking public transit, and some still fearing taking it.
We are tired of the platitudes that are sent our way every time members of our community are targeted, harassed, attacked or worse, killed. We join organizations across Canada, including the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), in calling for the federal government and every provincial and municipal government in Canada to recognise that systemic Islamophobia exists in Canada, and to implement measurable and tangible actions and policies to combat the rising and pervasive Islamophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric, sentiment and behaviour in Canada. There is no excuse for complacency and inaction.
A verified LaunchGood crowdfunding campaign has been organized to raise funds to support the young survivor, who is now an orphan, and to dedicate a sadaqah jariyah (i.e. continuing charity) project in the name of the family members that were killed. If you wish to make a contribution, you may do so here.  https://www.ourcommons.ca/Members/en/votes/42/1/237?view=result
https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/october-2020/islamophobia-is-on-the-rise-during-covid-19/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/01/24/the-deadly-consequences-of-islamophobia-in-canada/ https://www.cp24.com/news/ford-horrified-after-downtown-mosque-is-vandalized-for-sixth-time-since-june-1.5068925