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Yellowknife

YK Islamic Centre to hold vigil for victims of London attack


The Islamic Centre of Yellowknife will hold a vigil and rally against Islamophobia at 7pm on Thursday at Somba K’e Park to commemorate a Muslim family killed in London, Ontario on Sunday.

Four members of the Afzaal family – three adults and a teen – were killed when a 20-year-old man rammed his pickup truck into them. A nine-year-old boy is in hospital with serious injuries.

The driver is charged with four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

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Police investigating the attack said the driver targeted the family because of their faith.

“Everybody’s affected, and we have to stand against his type of behaviour,” said Nazim Awan, chair of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife and organizer of the vigil.

“Nobody should be subjected to this fear. No. Unacceptable.”

Awan said many Muslim people living in Yellowknife have reached out to him for support.

“It was heartbreaking, because nobody expects that somebody’s going for a walk and this will happen to any person,” he said.

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“When that person looks like you and has the same background, then it’s more frightening. That it happened here in Canada, today, in 2021 – unbelievable.”

Further details and a link to an official fundraiser for the surviving nine-year-old boy are posted to the Facebook page for the vigil.

Parking will be available at City Hall and adjoining streets. Organizers ask attendees to wear a mask and respect Covid-19 social distancing protocols.

Mental health supports are available at the hotline Naseeha (1-866-627-3342). The mental health hotline is available seven days a week between 10am and 10pm MT.

Emily Blake contributed reporting.

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