Toronto residents walk in Scarborough to honour Muslim family killed in attack, condemn hate
TORONTO -- It's been six days since four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont., were killed in an attack that police have called a hate crime, and for many, the grief hasn't stopped.
Residents in Scarborough, Ont., joined a solidarity walk on Saturday to show support for members of the Muslim community devastated by the killing that took the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumnah Salman.
"When I heard the news it was so sad. The tears came out." Mohsin Patel told CTV News Toronto on Saturday. "I can't express, I can't tell how to take this, because just as a Muslim we don't feel safe to go walk on the street."
Patel and hundreds of others walked in solidarity through Scarborough, including Muslim Canadians and members of different faith communities. They took to the street in memory of the four members of the Afzaal family, who were killed last Sunday.
More than 200 kilometres from the site of the unspeakable tragedy, the events of last weekend hit very close to home for many who came out to walk.
Addressing the crowd, which gathered outside of the Scarborough Muslim Association, Toronto resident Rafia Kouser said, "when we say 'this is not our Canada,' it has been our Canada for years. There has been nothing done about it."
Many in the crowd said they often live with fear over how they might be treated simply because of their faith.
"Me and my family, when we go for a walk, we should not be fear for anything" Patel said. "This is a multicultural country, everybody has a right to treat everybody equally."
Another participant, Aqueelah Ali, shared with CTV New Toronto numerous examples of how she feels singled out on a daily basis due to her faith.
"It's sad," Ali said. "I am a Canadian citizen. I grew up here. I work with everyone and for some reason I'm still … frowned upon.”
Several other participants shared messages of strength and hope at the walk.
"I'm going to be honest with all of you," speaker Tanvir Ahmed told the crowd. "I hold some fear, I hold some anxiety. Like many people my age, I don't know what I'm going to do, who I might become. But I know for certain that no matter where I go, no matter who I will be, I will always be a proud Canadian Muslim."