Pakistan has condemned the “Islamophobic” incident that resulted in the death of four family members of Pakistani origin, in London, Ontario, Canada.
A 20-year-old man driving a pick-up truck slammed into and killed two women, a man, and a teenager on Monday.
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim,” police said.
The Pakistan foreign affairs ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, “The high commission for Pakistan in Ottawa and the consulate general in Toronto are in close contact with the relevant Canadian authorities to ascertain the facts of the case.”
It added, “This is yet another manifestation of the systematic rise in Islamophobia.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan remarked that the killing is a condemnable act of terrorism that reveals “the growing Islamophobia in Western countries”.
In an interview with CBC News, he called for action against online hate which he declared is the root cause of Islamophobia, saying, “There needs to be international action against Islamophobia.”
He did not go into detail on the type of action he expects from other countries.
He went on to say that he has studied in the UK, lived there for a long time, and was for a time married to a British woman.
He said, “I understand the western culture and understand its problems. I know why Islamophobia spread so quickly post 9/11.”
He explained that after the attack on the twin towers, leaders across the world condemned it using terms such as “Islamic terrorism”.
He said ordinary people on the streets don’t understand the difference between moderate and radical Muslims.
“They think that all Muslims are the same and this fuels Islamophobia,” he said. “But terrorism has no religion and there are extremists in every society.”
He was then asked for his thoughts on Quebec’s law that forbids civil servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols at work.
Khan condemned this as a form of secular extremism, saying, “The whole idea behind secularism is you want humans to be free to be the way they want to be as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Why is it such a big issue if someone wants to cover their head?
“Muslims must unite to make people understand the importance of their religious teachings. People objecting to others wearing religious symbols is quite bizarre.”
The main problem, he concluded, is the way Islam is perceived in Western countries.
He then dodged the question when asked to comment on alleged atrocities against Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.
Cash-strapped Pakistan is a close ally of China after accepting a US$60 billion dollar handout for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Beijing is also Pakistan’s main arms supplier, enabling Islamabad to continue its campaign against their mutual enemy India.