Canada: Muslim group wants murder investigated as hate-motivated

National Council of Canadian Muslims says fatal stabbing of man outside a Toronto-area mosque has shaken the community.

A Canadian Muslim advocacy group is calling for a recent fatal stabbing outside a mosque near Toronto to be investigated as potentially hate-motivated, after the city’s police service announced that it had made an arrest in the case.

In a statement on Friday, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) thanked Toronto police for making an arrest in relation to the killing of 58-year-old Mohamed-Aslim Zafis.

Zafis was fatally stabbed on September 12 outside the International Muslim Organization of Toronto mosque in Etobicoke, Ontario, just west of Toronto, where he volunteered as a caretaker to ensure that congregants followed COVID-19 safety protocols.

In August, representatives of the downtown Masjid Toronto said the mosque’s windows were broken three times in a three-week span.

Muslim community leaders had called then for the incidents to be investigated as motivated by hate.

According to Farooq at NCCM, Zafis’s killing has not only shaken members of the local Muslim community, but it has affected the entire neighbourhood and people across Canada.

“This has just been a devastating moment,” he said. “This is a safe place, a place of love and light, and this attack has really been … an attack on all of our innocence.”

NCCM said it planned to hold a vigil for Zafis on Saturday evening outside the mosque where he was killed and reiterate its demand for police to probe the incident as hate-motivated. 

A funeral for Zafis was held earlier this week and drew hundreds of mourners.

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