'A heartache that will never go away': Afzaal family speaks out

'A heartache that will never go away': Afzaal family speaks out
Yumna Afzaal, 15, Madiha Salman, 44, Talat Afzaal, 74, and Salman Afzaal, 46, left to right, were out for an evening walk June 6 when they were run over by a truck in what police say was an attack motivated by anti-Muslim hate.(Submitted by the Afzaal family)

It is the deepest sadness when you realize that the people who gave you the best memories, have become but a memory. Missing you all, our beloved family, is a heartache that will never go away. Your memories are a treasure that we keep in our hearts and we continue to struggle with the question of why you all had to depart this life.

We have reached the one-year anniversary of a heinous act that took the lives of our family. It is still so difficult to comprehend and no words can ever describe our feelings. A year sounds like such a long time, but without you all, it has gone in the blink of an eye. We miss you all more than words can express.

The Afzaal family would like to express our deepest thanks to the London, Ontario, community, for their continuous support and understanding. To lose three generations of our family was a catastrophe, but our community came together and has provided us with hope and strength. It is with this strength we have been able to continue forward.

As a family, we have always believed in equality and freedom from all forms of discrimination on account of race, colour or creed. In our view, June 6th, 2021, marked a day when life was not only taken from 4 innocent people, but from the whole of humanity. We, the Afzaal family, condemn all types of violence motivated by hatred.

We continue to heal from this incredibly tragic event that our family has endured. While we are deeply grateful for the support and recognition that many institutions have offered, it is also important for the Afzaal family to make it clear that we do not endorse any political, religious and/or cultural campaigns. We also do not endorse any fundraising initiatives adopted in the name of our family’s loss. Use of Afzaal name for any initiative is not supported by the family and therefore we will not be responsible for it. We urge all donors to contribute to their own choice of charity and independently evaluate its authenticity.

The Afzaal family has also directed that all crowd funding be stopped and transferred within the jurisdiction of the court, with the proceeds being preserved for the surviving minor, upon him reaching the age of majority.

As we continue to heal and move forward in our lives, the privacy of the Afzaal family and, particularly the surviving minor, is of paramount concern to us. We respectfully request that all media outlets refrain from posting pictures of our deceased family members. We ask that all media outlets also refrain from contacting our relatives for interviews. We would like to provide the surviving minor as normal of a life as possible. We seek your compassion and discretion in honouring our request.

As the criminal trial of the accused proceeds, we also request that our community and the media be mindful of our family’s privacy during this time. The Afzaal family continues to place the greatest amount of belief and support in the Canadian justice system, and we look forward to seeing justice served.

On behalf of the Afzaal family, our most sincere thank you for your ongoing support, kindness and prayers.

Umar Afzaal and family. Umar Afzaal is an uncle to Fayez who was nine years old at the time.


June 3

Remembering Our London Family open house; 7-9 p.m., 990 Gainsborough Rd.

June 5

Our London Family march, starting 1 p.m. at Oakridge secondary school, where Yumnah Afzaal attended, ending about 5 p.m. at the London Muslim Mosque, 151 Oxford St. W.

June 6

  • Our London Family prayer service;  9-11 a.m. at the London Islamic Cemetery, 6100 White Oak Rd.
  • Our London Family student walk for students from both area school boards covering the walk the Afzaal family did not get to complete
  • Our London Family community garden dedication; 1 p.m. at Maple Grove Park, 1260 Coronation Dr.
  • Our London Family art gallery, highlighting works honouring the Afzaal family, 4 p.m. at London Muslim Mosque
  • Our London Family vigil, 7 p.m. at the site of the collision, Hyde Park and South Carriage roads, where the city is erecting a memorial

June 7 and 8

Anti-Islamophobia workshops, details to be announced, registration required; organized by Muslim Resources Centre for Social Support and Integration, Islamic Social Services Association, King’s University College