Wednesday Jun 09, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday told his Canadian counterpart Marc Garneau that the Islamophobic attack on a Pakistani-origin family in Canada had "caused anguish among the Muslims worldwide".
Qureshi's remarks came during a telephone call with Garneau. A press release was later issued by the Foreign Office which stated that the two discussed matters related to the "recent tragic incident of Islamophobia in London, Ontario, and bilateral ties".
"The Islamophobic attack is a matter of serious concern and has caused anguish among the Muslims worldwide," the statement quoted the foreign minister as saying. He, however, lauded the Canadian government, civil society, media and general public for the support they extended to the family of the victims in their "hour of grief".
Pakistan's top diplomat "particularly" appreciated the "strong condemnatory statement" issued by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the Islamophobic attack. He also expressed hope that the "perpetrator of the crime would be brought to justice".
During the conversation, Qureshi also briefed the Canadian foreign minister on the efforts taken by the Pakistani government to "raise awareness and to curtail the growing Islamophobic tendencies". He emphasised that the intentional community needs to develop a "common resolve" against rising "Islamophobia and promote peaceful coexistence and interfaith harmony".
The two agreed to work together on countering Islamophobia via coordinated efforts at various international fora. They also agreed to instruct their envoys at the United Nations to "work together" on the issue. Both also agreed to remain in close contact.
A man driving a pick-up truck slammed into and killed four members of a Muslim family in Canada's Ontario province, in what police and officials said Monday was a premeditated attack motivated by "hatred".
A 20-year-old suspect wearing a vest "like body armor" fled the scene on Sunday evening, and was arrested at a mall seven kilometres (four miles) from the intersection in London, Ontario where the attack happened, said Detective Superintendent Paul Waight.
"There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim," he told a news conference.
Canada's Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair had described it as a "horrific act of Islamophobia."
"They believe the family was targeted because of their faith, and that the attacker was motivated by his hatred of Muslims," he said.
The suspect, identified as Nathaniel Veltman, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
Waight said local authorities are also liaising with federal police and the attorney general about adding "possible terrorism charges."
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was "horrified" by the attack.
"To the loved ones of those who were terrorised by yesterday's act of hatred, we are here for you," he said, singling out the nine-year-old in hospital.
"To the Muslim community in London and to Muslims across the country, know that we stand with you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable — and it must stop," he added.