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‘Sad and beautiful’ to ‘super gross’: Politicians met with cheers, jeers and boos at London, Ont. vigil for Muslim family

·6-min read

Thousands of people gathered outside a mosque on Tuesday night in a vigil for the family that was intentionally attacked in a targeted hate crime in London Ont., on Sunday evening.

In attendance were leaders of all of Canada's federal parties, Ontario's provincial leaders and London, Ont.'s municipal officials.

"There are no words that can ease the grief of having three generations murdered in their neighbourhood, there are no words that can undo the pain, and yes, the anger of this community, there are no words that can fix the future of that little boy who has had his future taken away," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at the vigil. "But know this, you are not alone, all Canadians mourn with you and stand with you tonight and always."

"Islamophobia is real, racism is real. You should have to face that hate in your communities, in your country. We can and we will act. We can and we will choose a better way."Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

"This was a terrorist attack, an act of mass murder, and a grotesque expression of hatred rooted in Islamophobia," London Mayor Ed Holder said in his statement. 

"We now live in a time, and in a place, where thousands of Muslims — our family members, neighbours, friends, and co-workers — the next time they're out for a walk, and through no fault of their own, may be looking over their shoulders."

Several people took to social media to react to the vigil.

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Some took issue with Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, in particular, participating after he voted again a 2017 motion (M-103) on systemic racism and religious discrimination, and to condemn Islamophobia.

"We have to commit ourselves to working across party lines with premiers, with mayors, with faith leaders to end the kind of violence and hatred that rook these lives," O'Toole said at the vigil.

"The rise in Islamophobia and other forms of hate this last year are the pandemic of darkness mid the COVID-19 pandemic. We know the Muslim community is stronger than this or any act of terrorism committed against you. We know the city of London is stronger than this or any act of terrorism."

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Some Canadians also called out Doug Ford, who was met with boos as he approached the podium on Tuesday night.

"It was an act of terrorism against a family targeted for their beliefs and for their religion," Ford said. "This type of racism and terrorism cannot and will not be tolerated."

"It must be condemned in the strongest terms and those who commit this type of evil must and will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

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People still continue to call for more action on systemic racism in Canada, including policy decisions.

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