Judge’s Ruling Declares Killer of London Muslim Family Committed Terrorism, Calling It a ‘Textbook Case’

LONDON, Ontario – A judge in London, Ontario, ruled that the actions of Nathaniel Veltman, who was convicted of murder and attempted murder after driving his truck into five members of the Afzaal family, amounted to terrorism under Canadian law. The judge stated that it was a “textbook case of terrorist activity.”

Veltman, 23, was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder by a jury in Windsor, Ontario, back in November. The attack resulted in the deaths of Yumnah Afzaal, 15, her parents Madiha Salman, 44, and Salman Afzaal, 46, as well as family matriarch Talat Afzaal, 74. The lone survivor of the attack, a young boy, testified during the sentencing hearing.

The judge handed Veltman an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murder convictions, and also sentenced him to a concurrent life sentence for the attempted murder of the young boy. The family’s relatives expressed relief after the sentencing, thanking the justice system and law enforcement for bringing justice to their loved ones.

Pomerance, the judge, stated that Veltman’s actions were motivated by racist, white supremacist ideology, deliberately targeting the Afzaal family because of their Muslim faith. The Crown’s case was strong, with evidence pointing to Veltman’s desire to spread fear among Muslims in Canada.

Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s Special Representative on Combatting Islamophobia, emphasized the significance of the judge’s ruling and its reflection of the concerns surrounding far-right extremism in Canadian communities. She stated that holding perpetrators accountable for acts of terrorism against racialized minorities is crucial for ensuring a sense of belonging and safety for all faiths and backgrounds in Canada.

Despite defense arguments claiming that Veltman was not motivated by a particular ideology, the judge’s ruling marked a significant moment in Canadian legal history, potentially setting a precedent for cases involving white supremacist views meeting the threshold for terrorism.

The case serves as a sobering reminder of the impact of hate-fueled violence on communities, as the Afzaal family tragedy sent shockwaves of fear and devastation throughout London and beyond. The sentencing of Nathaniel Veltman is a pivotal moment in the ongoing fight against terrorism and hate crimes, as Canada seeks to ensure justice and protection for all its citizens, regardless of race, religion, or background.