A 22-year-old Canadian man, Nathaniel Veltman, stands accused of carrying out a heinous attack on a Muslim family in Ontario in 2021, resulting in the tragic deaths of three generations. Prosecutors argued in their closing statement that Veltman’s primary motive was to send a “brutal message” to all Muslims.
This message carried a horrifying warning: “Leave this country, or you and your loved ones could be next.”
They asserted that Veltman had deliberately filled himself with hatred towards Muslims meticulously planned, and executed a terrorist attack.
The victims of this heart-wrenching incident were high school student Yumnah Afzaal, 15, her parents Madiha Salman, 44, and Salman Afzaal, 46, along with family matriarch Talat Afzaal, 74, who was a teacher and artist.
Tragically, while they were out for an evening walk on June 6, 2021, this loving family was struck down. A nine-year-old boy was seriously injured but miraculously survived the attack.
The prosecution and defense both agree that Veltman was the driver who plowed his pickup truck into the Afzaal family during their walk. What makes this case particularly significant is that it marked the first time a Canadian jury heard legal arguments related to terrorism associated with white supremacy.
During his testimony, Nathaniel Veltman revealed details about his Christian upbringing and a troubled childhood characterized by a “passive” father and a “religious fanatic” mother.
Canada’s Landmark Hate Crime Trial: Verdict Pending
He pleaded not guilty to four counts of murder, one count of attempted murder, and associated terror charges, attributing his actions to mental illness. Veltman testified that he experienced a “process of decline mentally” in the months leading up to the attack.
Prosecutors, on the other hand, contend that Veltman’s heinous act was motivated by the family’s faith. They argued that he embraced a far-right ideology after months of online “research,” which involved watching videos of mass killings and reading manifestos from white supremacists.
This extremist ideology, they claimed, was the driving force behind his deadly actions on that fateful night.
During the trial, the prosecution presented excerpts from Veltman’s manifesto, titled “A White Awakening,” in which he criticized mass immigration, multiculturalism, and what he perceived as crimes against white people.
It was revealed that Veltman had also consumed psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, in the hours leading up to the attack.
In his defense, attorney Christopher Hicks urged jurors to consider a verdict of manslaughter rather than first-degree murder, arguing that Veltman did not intend to kill the family.
While he acknowledged his client’s responsibility for the deaths, he emphasized that the deaths were not deliberate.
As the trial concludes, Canada awaits the jury’s verdict, which will not only determine Veltman’s fate but also reflect the nation’s stance on hate crimes and extremism, underscoring the importance of addressing hate and radicalization in all its forms.
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