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Nearly $2m raised to support nine-year-old sole survivor of alleged Islamophobic attack in Canada

·3-min read
Along with the money, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack (AP)
Along with the money, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack (AP)

Nearly $2m has been raised for a boy orphaned by a suspected Islamophobic terrorist attack in Canada.

Fayez Afzaal lost his entire family while on a walk in London, Ontario after an alleged Christian terrorist mowed down the family with his pickup truck.

Fayez lost his parents Salman Afzaal, 46, and Madiha, 44; his sister Yumnah, 15; and his grandmother. Local police are citing their Muslim faith as the motive for their attack. The boy is the lone survivor but was seriously injured in the attack.

One GoFundMe crowdfunder has raised more than $840,000. It was set up b Sana Yasir, who wrote about her relationship to the family and plans for the money.

“I have personally known the family for 12 years now and have been very close family friends ever since, seeing them almost every week. We live down the street from this family and have bumped into them many times during their daily evening walks,” she wrote.

Ms Yasir outlined that the funds would be used for Fayez’s future, and she spoke to CTV News about the response to the fundraising effort, saying it was “crazy”.

“It’s crazy to me how much people have donated and it’s people all over the world from different races and religions all donating,” she said. Ms Yasir also remarked how people had been asking how Fayez was doing.

“It’s very, very relieving to see how many people are standing by us at this time and showing their love and support,” she said.

A LaunchGood fund was established by an amalgamation of friends, family and charities supporting Islamic causes that has raised more than $1.3 million. It is believed to be two different funds that eventually combined into one.

The fundraising effort read: “Our community is grieving the loss of 4 precious lives who were taken simply because of their faith.”

It highlighted the violence faced by Muslims and called for action. “The rise in hate crimes and acts of Islamophobia must be condemned by all levels of society. We will survive this test through hope, love, our unshakeable believe in God, and a firm commitment to the pursuit of justice.”

Organizers also went into detail about how they will follow up with the money raised. “Islamic Relief will collaborate closely with members of family as well as the London Muslim Mosque and NCCM to allocate the funds to fulfill the needs of the sole survivor and dedicate a Sadaqah Jaariya project for the deceased.”

They promised additional information when it becomes available.

Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been named as the suspect in the attack and been indicted on four charges of first-degree murder and one charge of attempted murder for his alleged involvement. His mother, Alysia Bisset, condemned the crimes her son stands accused of, labelling them “heinous”.

“I am praying for the victims and the family members of the victims and my heartfelt prayers will continue to for all are affected by this tragedy,” she said. “Due to the ongoing investigations and proceedings taking place, no comments will be made.”

The victims emigrated from Pakistan to Canada in 2007.

“One of the first things they did when they arrived was invite me into their apartment for breakfast. There was no furniture, just one chair, and they insisted I sit on it. Yet they were so grateful to be here and to have the opportunity to be in Canada,” Dianne Bryant, Salman’s masters degree supervisor, said of the family toWestern News.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau led tributes in the Canadian parliament, saying, “We cannot allow any form of hate to take root because the consequences can be far too serious. We’ve seen it in Christchurch. We’ve seen it in other places around the world, and we’ve lived it here at home.”

Trudeau was referencing the attack that took place in April 2019, a mass shooter went into a mosque and killed 51 people and injured 49 in New Zealand.

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