4 Dead; 1 Injured as Authorities Say Driver Mows Down Muslim Family; Canadian PM Calls it a 'Terrorist Attack' | Inside Edition

4 Dead; 1 Injured as Authorities Say Driver Mows Down Muslim Family; Canadian PM Calls it a 'Terrorist Attack'

Makeshift memorial for victims of Monday's crash where driver mowed down Muslim family of 5.
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"Their lives were taken in a brutal, cowardly, and brazen act of violence," the prime minister said before the House of Commons. "This killing was no accident. This was a terrorist attack motivated by hatred in the heart of one in our community."

A driver in a black pickup truck ran over a Muslim family of five, killing four and seriously injuring one, who were out on their evening walk in what Canadian police called a “deliberate” attack,” that was “planned,” officials said.

On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the killing "a terrorist attack," CNN reported

"Their lives were taken in a brutal, cowardly, and brazen act of violence," the prime minister said before the House of Commons. "This killing was no accident. This was a terrorist attack motivated by hatred in the heart of one in our community."

Twenty-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, a resident of London, was arrested and is facing charges of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, London police said.

Police who were working with federal police and prosecutors regarding potential terrorism charges said they were trying to determine if Veltman, a resident of London, was a member of any specific hate groups.

"We believe the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith," Police Chief Stephen Williams said, CBS News reported. "There is no tolerance in this community who are motivated by hate target others with violence."

The heinous incident took place Sunday night in the Ontario city of London. Police said the driver mounted a curb and plowed into the victims at the intersection. 

Among the dead were three generations of a family, including Salman Afzal, 46; his wife Madiha, 44; their daughter Yumna, 15; and a 74-year-old grandmother, whose name was not released. The surviving family member is a boy, who was identified as Fayez, according to extended family members, CBS News reported.

Grieving family members called the Afzal family, which was Muslim, Canadian, and Pakistani a “model family," and said in their statement "that the public needs to stand against hate and Islamophobia."

A family friend devastated by the news said the family, who had immigrated from Pakistan 14 years ago, were dedicated, decent, and generous members of the London Muslim Mosque, CBS News reported. "They were just out for their walk that they would go out for every day."

Loved ones said the father, Salman, was a physiotherapist and cricket enthusiast. His wife, Mariah, had been working towards her doctorate in civil engineering. Their daughter, Yumna, was "completing her freshman year of high school and a 'top student' and the grandmother, the mother of Salman Afzaal, was described as a 'pillar' of the family who 'cherished their daily walks,'" a report said. 

Mayor Ed Holder called the said this was "an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims.”

“It was rooted in unspeakable hatred,” Holder said CBS reported

There are 30,000 to 40,000 Muslims among London's population of more than 400,000 residents, the mayor said.

Flags would be lowered for three days in London to honor the victims, a report said.

Council Head Mustafa Farooq of the National Council of Canadian Muslims said Muslims in Canada called the tragedy "a terrorist attack on Canadian soil, and should be treated as such."

GoFundMe account set up on behalf of the family had raised more than $460,000 as of Tuesday evening.

"The horrific nature of the crimes perpetrated against the Salman family serve as a reminder of the long shadow of Islamophobia that is cast on the lives of peaceful Muslim families across the world," the page said.

"The family has indicated that they do not need financial assistance at the time however, if you would like to help and donate the money will be used as  Sadaqa-Jariya on behalf of the deceased," the page said. "Sadaqa jariya is an important concept within Islam - it is a gift that not only benefits others in this life but also benefits us and our loved ones in the next. (Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ, narrated by Muslim) “When a person dies, all their deeds end except three: a continuing charity, beneficial knowledge and a child who prays for them.”

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