Hate attack prompts Catholic support for Muslims

The Globe and Mail

Canadian faith communities and politicians are united in strongly condemning a hate attack on a Muslim family in which several people died.

Four members of the family were killed by a driver on 6 June and a nine-year-old boy was seriously injured.

Police say killing the family was a deliberate act. They believe the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith.

The 20-year old driver of the vehicle that ploughed into the family has been arrested and faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Responding forcefully to the killings, the Canadian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CCCB) is condemning religious violence in Canada and specifically hatred against Jews and Muslims.

Speaking for the conference, CCCB president Archbishop Richard Gagnon says the bishops “adamantly object to all forms and expressions of hatred and they strongly denounce the recent violence seen in Canada against the Jewish People and Muslims, for which there can be no possible justification ever.”

There has been “a disturbing rise in harmful and violent acts against the Jewish People and Muslims” in recent weeks, including “offensive slurs, prejudice, hostility, and even terror claiming lives,” he says.

The bishops are appealing to “the minds and hearts of the Catholic faithful, and all people of goodwill, to denounce antisemitism, Islamophobia, and all similar forms of extremism and violence against fellow human beings of all faith traditions.”

They are also asking Catholics to promise to pray for:

“An increase in tireless, sincere and constructive dialogue, greater understanding, social harmony, and mutual respect, in order that Canadians from all backgrounds, faith traditions and cultures may live not as strangers or adversaries, but peacefully as brothers and sisters.”

The Catholic Church will work with the Muslim community to root out hate, one of the bishops has vowed.

“I am horrified by the hate-motivated killing of an innocent Muslim family,” he says.

“I unconditionally condemn acts of hatred and violence. People of all faiths, and all people, should always feel safe, everywhere in our country.”

He went on to say that the Catholic community in the victims’ hometown of London Ontario is offering its support “to our Muslim brothers and sisters, pledging to work together with them to end crimes of hate.

“I ask the faithful of the diocese to keep the family of those killed and their community in our prayers, asking God to bring them comfort in this time of grief and to grant the full recovery of the survivor.”

Political leaders in the Canadian House of Commons are also condemning the allegedly premeditated hate crime.

“We cannot allow any form of hate to take root,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “We must confront the ugly face of hatred.

“We know we need to look truth in the face, this hatred does exist in our country.”


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