Newham Muslim groups urge Boris Johnson to condemn attack in Canada

Muslims praying in a mosque

Muslim groups - including Darul Arqam Masjid and Muslim Community Centre, Darul Jannah, Masjid Al Hikmah and Manor Park Islamic Cultural Centre expressed horror at the Canada attack. - Credit: DPA/Press Association Images

Twenty Muslim organisations have expressed "utter horror and shock" at an attack on a Muslim family in Canada.

Newham mosques, including Masjid E Tauheed, Masjid Ibrahim UKIM and Masjid Al Hikmah, joined a call to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to publicly condemn the killings.

In a joint statement, the community groups expressed their "utter horror and shock" at the attack, which saw four members of a family lose their lives.

A black pickup truck driven by a lone man struck five relatives as they waited to cross a road in London, Ontario on June 6.

A nine-year-old boy suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries in the attack, according to Canadian police.


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Nathaniel Veltman, 20, has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder. 

The London Police Services Board in Canada condemned the act as "anti-Muslim hate and violence".

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson is urged to publicly condemn the attack in the statement. - Credit: PA

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In the statement, Muslim groups urge the British media to give the attack due prominence and say "silence" from Mr Johnson and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is "particularly disturbing to the Muslim community".

The groups also claim reports of alleged Islamophobia in the Conservative Party are being "brushed under the carpet".

An independent investigation - The Singh Investigation - last month found "anti-Muslim sentiment" remains a "problem" in the party.

Neither the prime minister's office nor the Conservative Party responded to requests for comment.

However, a statement on the Tory party website says it is considering the investigation report's recommendations.

The FCDO pointed to a tweet by the UK's high commissioner to Canada, Susan Le Jeune, on June 8.

It states: "A truly shocking attack in #londonontario yesterday which left a child without a family. The UK stands with Canada in rejecting Islamophobia and hate crime wherever it occurs."

In the statement, the Muslim groups urge the council to work with "credible" grassroots organisations to counter Islamophobia.

Cllr Charlene McLean.

Cllr Charlene McLean. - Credit: Ken Mears

Cllr Charlene McLean, deputy mayor and cabinet member for resident engagement and participation on Newham Council, said:  "We are shocked and saddened by the horrific news from Ontario.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with the loved ones of all those who lost their lives because of this despicable violence.

"We strongly oppose Islamophobia and are determined to tackle all hate crime, discrimination and racism."

She added the local authority is working closely with Muslim organisations and is meeting representatives this month.

In 2018, Newham accepted the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims's definition of Islamophobia as being "rooted in racism" and "a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslim-ness or perceived Muslim-ness".

In November, the town hall took part in Islamophobia Awareness Month, hosting virtual events which highlighted the threats of hate crime towards Muslims and celebrated the contribution British followers of the faith make to society.

Other groups supporting the statement include Muslim Engagement and Development Newham, Newham Muslim Forum, Newham Council of Mosques and Sisters Forum.

They identify Islamophobia as being on the rise in Newham, with reports of mosques being attacked and threatening letters being sent.

The statement adds that there have been reports of children on the receiving end of "questionable treatment" from schools which should be "places of safety and learning".

In one incident, the police received a report of a racially-aggravated common assault outside Masjid Bilal & Islamic Centre of East Ham in Barking Road.

The Met confirmed that eggs were thrown at worshippers from a car as they left the mosque following morning prayers at about 4.15am on May 26.

A spokesperson for the service said there were no reported injuries and to date, there have been no arrests. Anyone with information should call the police on 101.

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