On Sunday, June 6, 2021, four members of a family were killed and another seriously injured when a driver ran them down as they were waiting to cross a street in London, Ontario. Police have charged a suspect with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder, and stated their belief that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate, and the victims were targeted because of their Islamic faith.
Hatred and discrimination based on creed have no place in our society. Incidents like this are a tragic reminder that Islamophobia and xenophobia are real, deadly and persist in Ontario. This horrific and senseless act further underlines why discrimination based on creed and racism must be unequivocally condemned as deplorable and in violation of core values and beliefs as a society.
Every Ontarian has the right to safely walk down a street without fear of harm because of their religion, ethnicity and/or race. Sadly and tragically, this did not happen in London. The OHRC grieves alongside Londoners and all Ontarians for the four community members we have lost, and the fifth who is seriously hurt.
In the midst of our collective grief, we urge all Ontarians to follow the words in Ontario’s Human Rights Code and create "a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and able to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community and the province.”
This past year, the OHRC has repeatedly denounced the escalating hate that is targeting religious and racialized communities. It is essential that we all take steps and stand in solidarity, as individuals and through our organizations, to call out Islamophobia and racism and reject the hatred and the violence it begets.