FILE – People carry and load the casket into a hearse during the funeral of Mohamed-Aslim Zafis in Toronto on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. Police say Zafis was killed by an unknown suspect while he sat outside the mosque as he controlled entry to the building in order to comply with public health protocols. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

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

They also called on all political parties to help counter such groups

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.

“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.

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Racial injusticewhite supremacist

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The cover photo of an emergency food and nutrition strategy prepared for the City of Nanaimo’s health and housing task force. (Maddy Koch photo/City of Nanaimo)
City of Nanaimo will consider the creation of a food policy council

Working group says new arm’s-length body could help with food security in the region

Clockwise from top left: panelist Jacomien van Tonder, moderator Kerry Slavens and panellists Paul Shorthouse and Ross Blackwell discussed the concepts behind the circular economy during a session at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Wednesday. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Island economic summit panellists discuss sustainability based on ‘doughnut’ model

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance summit panel examines modern production of goods

An arrest warrant has been issued for Brian Thomas, of Nanaimo, who is accused of throwing a “spear-like object” at a vehicle. (Photo submitted)
Warrant out for Nanaimo man who allegedly threw ‘spear-like object’ at vehicle

Brian Thomas failed to make court appearance, say RCMP

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Nanaimo and Victoria

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

Nanaimo RCMP Bike Patrol Unit members ride past Wesley Street on Tuesday morning. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo RCMP investigate knife threat, make arrest for alleged drug trafficking

Drugs, cash and knife found in belongings of man who matched description of suspect

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never-before-seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Most Read