The Canadian Muslim community and people who fight for the rights of others in Canada are asking for fairness as the trial of a man accused of intentionally hitting a Muslim family with his truck in Ontario in 2021 begins.
The trial started with the selection of jurors on Tuesday. The man, Nathaniel Veltman, is facing four charges of first-degree murder and one charge of attempted murder for the attack in London, a city about 125 miles west of Toronto.
During a hearing in the city of Windsor, Veltman said he was not guilty of all the charges, as reported by local news. On June 6, 2021, Salman Afzaal, who was 46 years old, his wife Madiha, who was 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna, and Salman's mother, Talat, who was 74, were killed when a pickup truck hit them while they were out for a walk.
Their nine-year-old son was also seriously hurt. At the time, authorities said the family was attacked because of their Islamic faith, and they have since charged Veltman with "terrorism" related offenses.
“We want the trial to be victim centric,” said Abd Alfatah Twakkal, chair of the London Council of Imams. “We need to keep the family at the forefront of our thoughts because four people in our community were killed and we must never lose sight of that.”
“We are looking for justice for our London family and for our community to feel protected, to feel safe and to know that our justice system will do what is necessary to deter this from ever happening again,” said Aasiyah Khan, National Council of Canadian Muslim’s (NCCM) Chief Operating Officer.