Canadian Manufacturing

Human rights groups ask feds for plan to deal with white supremacy in Canada

A 58-year-old man was fatally stabbed outside the International Muslim Organization mosque in Toronto last month

October 5, 2020  The Canadian Press

A coalition of multifaith human rights organizations urged the prime minister Monday to come up with a plan to dismantle white supremacist groups across the country.

The open call to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comes in wake of the death of a 58-year-old man who was fatally stabbed outside the International Muslim Organization mosque in Toronto last month.

The mosque has asked police to investigate the death of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis as a hate crime. The head of the Toronto police homicide squad said last month that while investigators had no immediate evidence the stabbing was motivated by hate, it was a possibility.

The organizations that wrote to Trudeau said the government needs to take action to prevent such incidents in the future.

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“Canadians, whether from Indigenous, Black, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Christian, or other faith and racialized communities have faced attacks on our homes, our places of worship, and our congregants at the hands of white supremacist organizations,” they wrote.

The organizations that signed the letter include the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the World Sikh Organization, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Amnesty International and the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.

They asked the federal government to develop an action plan to dismantle white supremacy groups. They also called on all political parties to help counter such groups.

“We look forward to ongoing dialogue with the government to ensure that action be taken now,” the groups wrote.

Police said last month that Zafis was seemingly attacked at random as he sat outside the mosque on Sept 12.

William Von Neutegem has been charged with first-degree murder in Zafis’ death.

Investigators said last month that there was no known motive or relationship between the victim and the accused.

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network alleges that social media accounts under the name William Von Neutegem show a chant and symbol on YouTube associated with a neo-Nazi group that encourages killings. It also alleges an account with the same name follows a white supremacist on Twitter. The Canadian Press has not verified that the accounts belong to the accused.

Von Neutegem is set to return to court on Nov. 5.

By Liam Casey