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Trudeau joins London march marking anniversary of deadly attack on Muslim family

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LONDON, Ont. — Relatives, community members and dignitaries called for an end to racism and Islamophobia on Sunday during an emotional tribute marking the one-year anniversary of a deadly attack on a Muslim family in London, Ont.

Leaders from the Muslim community and friends of the victims called on all levels of government for action to address Islamophobia.

Pleas for compassion and tolerance mixed with expressions of grief and mourning for the four people killed in what prosecutors have described as a hate-motivated act of terrorism.

Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their 15-year-old daughter Yumnah and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, died after police say they were deliberately hit by a truck during an evening walk in London on June 6, 2021. The family’s nine-year-old son was hurt, but survived.

Esa Islam, a cousin of the Afzaal family, said the attack has left a gaping wound in his heart.

“Last year, I would never be able to understand how all it took was one act of hatred to change my entire life,” he said.

Islam made his remarks before hundreds of mourners who gathered at the football field of the high school his cousin Yumnah attended before her death.

“I miss being able to go over to their house and have fun conversations about Harry Potter with Yumnah,” Islam said.

“I miss the simple things, the things we always take for granted until they’re gone.”

Maryam AlSabawi, a close friend of Yumnah, said she misses having lunch and going to the mall with her.

“I miss talking about our plans for the future,” she said. “I just miss your presence, the sound of your laughter, the stories you would tell me and the 3 a.m. texts about the most random things.”

AlSabawi said she has been struggling with sleepless nights, fear of trucks and an inability to go for walks.

“We didn’t just lose you and your beautiful family, but we lost our sense of belonging, our sense of community, our sense of safety, our sense of self,” the 16-year-old girl said.

“We even lost our innocence. The world isn’t as kind as we had believed it to be.”

She said she and a group of friends have started a group called the Youth Coalition Combating Islamophobia.

“The world placed the responsibility on our shoulders that would have crushed a mountain, but we will carry it because others haven’t,” she said.

The coalition organized the event and a march that took place in London on Sunday, where hundreds walked to the school of the London Islamic Centre.

“It’s been a very difficult year for the Muslim community here in London,” said Asad Choudhary, a former principal at the London Islamic Centre and youth mentor.

On top of organizing events to raise awareness about Islamophobia, the youth coalition has developed a lesson plan on the issue of Islamophobia, with the help of educators, for teachers to use in their classes in London, Ont.

“Essentially, it talks about what Islamophobia is, what happened on June 6, 2021, here in our city, and how do we support the combating of Islamophobia,” he said.

“What the youth came up with is that people need to understand what a stereotype is, when people look at Muslims and that stereotype that … comes forth, and that creates implicit biases, which creates hate.”

Islam said politicians should follow their supportive words with action to prevent similar attacks in the future.

“I’m tired of not seeing action by the politicians that we elect to lead us, hearing them make unfulfilled promises and speak hollow words of sorrow,” he said.

He singled out Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government for not committing to pass a law to fight Islamophobia and other forms of hate.

A bill tabled by the Ontario NDP earlier this year — called the Our London Family Act — would have established a provincial review of hate crimes and hate motivated incidents in Ontario.

The bill would also have designated safe zones around houses of worship, prevented white supremacist groups from registering as societies and established an anti-racism council that would provide input on government policies.

However, it was defeated shortly after being introduced.

The bill was created with the National Council of Canadian Muslims and follows recommendations put forward by that organization.

“Despite all of the promises we heard last year, one year later, it feels there’s still an unwillingness by our elected leaders to take concrete action against … Islamophobia,” Islam said.

While Ford didn’t attend the Sunday event, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra were among the attendees.

Trudeau said people should not ignore the reality that millions of Canadians are facing microaggression, discrimination and systemic racism every day.

He said the government has taken action to address hate and racism in Canada and added that there is more work to be done.

“On this day that we grieve, we also come together in commitment and resolve to make sure that tomorrow and next year, and all the days in the future, are also better,” said Trudeau.

“The lives of three generations of the Afzaal family were taken by a brutal, cowardly and brazen act of terrorist violence.”

He said his government has launched a new anti-racism strategy and a national action plan to combat hate and has allocated millions of dollars in funding to grassroots organizations, many led by Muslims, to combat hate.

“We’re also launching a process to appoint Canada’s very first special representative on combating Islamophobia,” he said.

There are several other events planned to commemorate the first anniversary of the June 6 tragedy, including a vigil on Monday.

A 21-year-old man faces four counts of first-degree murder in the attack. The case has not yet gone to trial.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2022.

 

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press

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How to play online casinos with minimal investment

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If you walk into a traditional brick-and-mortar casino, you have to buy a minimum number of chips. Similarly, in online casinos, you need to deposit a minimum amount to begin playing. Some casinos have a minimum low deposit, known as the minimum deposit casinos that remain on top of the players’ list. A minimum deposit casino is the one that charges less than 10 units of any currency, be it euro (€), dollar ($), or pound (£).

Minimum deposit casinos are increasing in popularity as these allow players to experience the full benefits of high deposit casinos but at a lower risk. The gamers can experience new games without risking much money.

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Busting the myths

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Getting started with minimum deposit casinos

To start with a minimum deposit casino, pick a brand listed on the trusted casinos’ websites such as https://bestonlinecasinocanada.com/minimum-deposit-casino/, read its reviews and ranking by the experts, visit the minimum deposit casino’s website and sign up there, deposit the minimum amount using any of the offered methods, claim any bonuses, promotions or checkboxes, and start playing right away.

Best for the new games and new gamers

Gambling carries an element of risk. The more you play, the more are your chances of losing money. With minimum low deposit casinos, you can play more for less, and would be saved from blowing all your bankroll in a single session. Also, look at online reviews of the casinos by real users, and be careful about withdrawal requirements. Avoid casinos that have a low minimum deposit but high withdrawal requirements. You will certainly not like to lock your money because of the casino’s wagering requirements. You can play plenty of games on the low minimum deposit casinos without worrying that there is a lot of money that you can’t withdraw. You can have more fun and games playing for real money without risking too much. Minimum deposit casinos are best for those who are new to the world of online casinos and online gaming, and want to test the waters.

 

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All three levels of government, police, organizers granted full standing on inquiry

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OTTAWA — The commissioner of the inquiry examining Ottawa’s use of the Emergencies Act to bring an end to the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protest in February has granted standing to the organizers, police and representatives of all three levels of government.

The decision by Paul Rouleau means those granted standing will be given advance notice on information submitted into evidence before the inquiry, and also gives them certain privileges, such as the opportunity to suggest or cross-examine witnesses.

Those granted full standing in the public inquiry include the federal, Alberta and Saskatchewan governments, the cities of Ottawa and Windsor, Ont., the Ottawa Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police and the organizers of the convoy, including Tamara Lich, Tom Marazzo and Chris Barber.

Former Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly will be allowed to produce documents, make submissions on factual, evidentiary and policy-related issues and examine witnesses, and the Manitoba government has been granted permission to provide written submissions.

However, Rouleau denied standing to the Conservative Party of Canada and several participants of the protests, some of whom had their bank accounts frozen under the Act.

Rouleau said it is important that the inquiry remain an independent, non-partisan process, noting there is also the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Declaration of Emergency reviewing the use of the Act’s powers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 27, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Ottawa police say they're ready to shut down Canada Day occupation attempts – CBC.ca

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Ottawa city officials say they are prepared for a “unique” Canada Day, with plans to keep anti-government protests from turning into another occupation.

The traditional nationally broadcast shows are returning for the first time since 2019, this time from the plaza in front of the Canadian War Museum because of ongoing construction on Parliament Hill.

Ottawa police say they expect more protests and larger crowds than usual during Canada Day celebrations as groups related to the Freedom Convoy continue to plan demonstrations. Some in those groups have indicated they’d like to protest through July and August.

“This is expected to be a unique Canada Day, with larger crowds and a larger event footprint,” interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell said during a Monday news conference.

WATCH | Interim police Chief Steve Bell talks about plans for Canada Day 

Police promise ‘swift and decisive’ action against any Canada Day occupation attempts

13 hours ago

Duration 0:37

Steve Bell, interim Ottawa police chief, says protesters will not be allowed to set up structures like sheds or tents, or have their own dance parties on city streets.

“We’ve developed our plans in the shadow of the unlawful protests and Rolling Thunder event. We’ve been speaking with community members and businesses and we’re very aware of the lingering trauma and concern about what they’re hearing after those events.”

Bell said officers will allow legal protests while shutting down illegal activities, including setting up structures or speakers without a permit and the threat of occupation, like on downtown streets in the winter.

He said police have been following online commentary and trying to talk to people who’ve said they’re coming to protest.

Two police officers escort someone away.
Police take a person into custody as they worked to clear an area on Rideau Street during a convoy-style protest participants called Rolling Thunder in Ottawa April 29, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

“[We’ve] planned, we’re prepared and we have the resources,” Bell replied when answering a question about whether police were ready to step in again like they did in late April, when attempts to gather near the Rideau Centre mall were shut down by officers.

Provincial police and the RCMP have offered help to shut down occupation attempts as long as there’s a risk, he said.

The Ottawa Police Services Board received an update on plans for Canada Day when it met Monday evening.

Bell spoke about the toll recent months have taken on officers, noting the demand is not “sustainable” and describing police as “fatigued” ahead of the long weekend.

“For this event we’ve actually had to cancel days off, we’ve cancelled discretionary time off, called people back from annual leave,” said the chief. “This is an all hands on deck event, but that has a cost on the health and wellbeing of our members.”

At least 5 days of traffic control

Last week, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told people thinking of coming to the capital “not to be intimidated by individuals who may be coming to Ottawa to cause trouble.”

He said Monday he wants this to be a safe, festive event for children and families and that people who “come to disrupt” will be dealt with, without a warning.

Bell told the police board that the force has been clear with its expectations for demonstrators, and that harassment won’t be tolerated.

“If there is a hate or bias crime incidents, if there’s intimidation or threats, we will actively investigate those,” he said, adding police know residents have “scars” from the occupation.

“I want to reassure you that those feelings, that trauma that our community has felt is front and centre in all of our planning efforts and will be front and centre in our response efforts.”

Overall, Bell said police are expecting hundreds of thousands of people downtown. For comparison, an estimated 56,000 people went to the shows on Parliament Hill in 2019 and that doesn’t count everyone celebrating nearby.

About 16,000 people attended the noon show on the Hill in 2019. (CBC News)

There will be the traditional Canada Day road closures Friday July 1 and early Saturday, though there are more closures near LeBreton Flats because of that change in show location.

But Ottawa police are establishing another “vehicle exclusion zone” — similar to what was set up in late April for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally — with no street parking at all and no protest vehicles allowed in from 8 a.m. this Wednesday until at least 6 a.m. on Monday, July 4.

A map of police checkpoints in Ottawa.
Ottawa police are controlling access to these parts of downtown, including two river bridges. All vehicles that aren’t involved in rallies or protests will be allowed in, the city says, but drivers cannot park on the street. (City of Ottawa)

Those plans may change if needed, officials said Monday. People are asked to plan ahead, expect delays and check city pages and local media for updates.

OC Transpo and Société de transport de l’Outaouais service is free July 1 and when it comes to OC Transpo, until 4 a.m. July 2.

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