Hate crime in Canada: Four killed in a deliberate hit-and-run attack on Muslim family
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says "Islamophobia is not acceptable in our communities"
BarcelonaTwo women, a child and a man have been killed and another child injured in a "premeditated" hit-and-run in southern Ontario, Canada. The events took place on Sunday and, according to police, the driver, a 20-year-old man who was arrested after fleeing the scene, acted in a "premeditated and planned manner, motivated by hatred". Paul Waight, responsible for the investigation, has revealed that "there is no previously known link between the suspect and the victims" and that they believe "they were attacked because they were Muslims". The suspect was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time of his arrest. Evidence is being gathered to charge him with terrorism.
At 8:30 p.m. the five family members were waiting to cross at a pedestrian crossing when the van drove up onto the sidewalk and hit them. The names of the victims have not been released: they were a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old teenager.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been "horrified" by the events. He has described the attack as an "act of hatred" and said that "Islamophobia is not acceptable in our communities".
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair referred to the attack as "a horrible act of Islamophobia" and said that "these mass murders are intended to terrify the targeted community and make people fear that their family could be next". "No one should have to live like this", he added. The National Council of Canadian Muslims has called for "justice" and for the case "to be treated as a terrorist attack on Canadian soil".
The attack has rekindled memories of the Quebec mosque shooting in January 2017, when a Canadian supremacist, Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, killed six worshippers and left five seriously injured. The perpetrator was sentenced to life in prison but could be released on parole if his appeal is approved. In April 2018 a man ran over two people again, with Islamophobic motivation, in Toronto.