Warning: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.
Ontario Provincial Police have launched an investigation into a video that shows a group of Muslims walking down a street while a man behind the camera makes jokes about the London, Ont., attack.
The video was made in Harriston, Ont., which is a small community 70 km northwest of Guelph in the Town of Minto.
Taken from inside a home, the video shows two women wearing hijabs and a child walking on the street outside.
A man in the background is heard saying, “Where is Nathaniel Veltman when you need him?” referring to the suspect in Sunday’s attack.
As the video pans to the left to keep the group in the frame, a white pickup truck drives by and the man can be heard saying, “Buddy you missed them, back up,” before laughing.
Global News has chosen not to post the video.
Four family members were killed and a fifth was injured after being struck Sunday by a pickup truck. The London Police Service has said it believes the victims “were targeted because they were Muslim.”
Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal and Afzaal’s 74-year-old mother were killed. Nine-year-old Fayez Afzaal suffered serious injuries but survived.
A 20-year-old man has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.
On Friday, Wellington County Warden Kelly Linton and Minto Mayor George Bridge released a joint statement.
“The anti-Muslim sentiment expressed in this disgusting video is abhorrent to the residents of Wellington County and the Town of Minto, and all efforts must be used to denounce hatred in all its forms,” the statement read.
“Islamaphobia (sic) and all forms of racism have no place in our community, and we must ensure that messages of hate and fear fall on deaf ears.”
A spokesperson with Wellington County confirmed the individuals in the video are connected to its settlement services which assist newcomers to Canada.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) said the video is deeply disturbing, especially just days after the attack in London.
The organization said once it became aware of the video, it immediately reached out to police as well as the online platform where it was originally posted to have it taken down.
“It’s definitely concerning that hate and hate crimes are being allowed in such a manner,” said communications coordinator Fatema Abdalla.
“This is why we continue to urge government and party leaders to strengthen online hate laws. That hate online leads to such devastating attacks such as the one we just recently saw in London.”
Abdalla said it was nice to see the video be largely condemned online by anyone who came across it.
“I guess in some ways it’s somewhat refreshing to see that people are calling it for what it is and calling it hate and calling it a crime,” she said. “But it is still very concerning that such things continue to happen.”
— With files from Global News’ Andrew Russell and Stewart Bell
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