Donations pour in to help boy left orphaned in London, Ont. attack
TORONTO -- Donations are pouring in from around the world to honour a London, Ont. family and support their surviving son, who were victims of a religiously motivated attack earlier this week.
On Sunday night, Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumnah and Salman's 74-year-old mother were killed while out for a walk in northwest London in what police have said was a targeted attack because of their Muslim faith.
Fayez Afzaal, the family’s nine-year-old son, survived the attack, but was seriously injured.
Sana Yasir, described as a “very close family friend” to the victims for the past 12 years, began the GoFundMe campaign three days ago and has raised $744,470 as of Thursday evening.
“It’s crazy to me how much people have donated and it’s people all over the world from different races and religions all donating,” she told CTV News.
Meanwhile, a second campaign on the fundraising website LaunchGood, has gathered $1,091,031 as of Thursday evening.
Both campaigns have received the support and consent of the victims’ family and by the London Muslim community, according to their descriptions.
Yasir added that people donating to her campaign have routinely reached out to ask about the condition of Fayez, who is now in stable condition.
“It’s very, very relieving to see how many people are standing by us at this time and showing their love and support,” she said.
According to the GoFundMe page, the immediate family has indicated that they do not need money to cover funeral expenses, the donations are instead going to help Fayez in the future and for sadaqa jariya, an Islamic concept of charitable giving where people benefit long after the person donating has died, according to Islamic Relief Worldwide.
The GoFundMe also indicates that the immediate family members will announce where the donation is going when the decision is made.
The suspect in the murders, identified as 20-year-old Nathaniel Veltman, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for his alleged involvement in the crimes.
He appeared in London court briefly on Thursday and is expected back in court on June 14.
Veltman’s mother, Alysia Bisset, released a statement on Thursday, calling the alleged actions of her son a “heinous crime.”
“I am praying for the victims and the family members of the victims and my heartfelt prayers will continue for all that are affected by this tragedy,” she said. “Due to the ongoing investigation and proceedings taking place, no further comments will be made.”