Following the tragic Ontario truck attack that targeted members of a Pakistani family, PM Imran Khan has urged international leaders to clamp down on online hatred and extremism.
“Everyone is shocked in [Pakistan], because we saw the family picture, and so a family being targeted like that has had a deep impact in Pakistan,” the premier told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) during a recent interview.
On June 6, a Pakistani-origin Muslim family in Canada lost three generations of members after being targeted in a “religiously motivated” attack. They were waiting on the sidewalk to cross the road when they were run over by a pick-up truck in the south of Canada’s Ontario province. According to police, the family was targeted because they were Muslims, and the incident looked to be “premeditated.”
When asked about Internet radicalization, PM Imran advised the interviewer that it should be dealt with harshly.
“When there are these hate websites which create hatred amongst human beings, there should be international action against them,” he maintained.
In light of the recent trend of domestic terror acts in Western nations, the premier emphasized the need of a greater emphasis on internet radicalization.
Investigators suspect that the perpetrators of two homicides in Canada — the 2017 mosque massacre in Quebec City and the 2018 Yonge Street van assault in Toronto — engaged in online activities that may have led to their radicalization.
Imran claimed to have discussed online hatred with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom he regarded as someone who “understands the importance of fighting online hate and Islamophobia.”
Other politicians, according to PM Imran, have yet to make the same promise.
“The world leaders, whenever they decide upon taking action, this will be dealt with,” he said.
“The problem is at the moment, there is not enough motivation and that some international leaders, or leaders in the Western countries, actually don’t understand this phenomenon,” premier observed.
PM Imran told the Canadian broadcaster that although he “mostly agrees” with Trudeau’s anti-extremism position, he is worried about several Canadian legislation that he believes lead to Islamophobia.
Bill 21 in Quebec, which prohibits public employees, such as teachers and police officers, from wearing religious symbols at work, was described by him as a sort of “secular radicalism” that might lead to hostility against Muslims.
“You want humans to basically be free to express the way they want to be, as long as it doesn’t cause pain and hurt to other human beings,” the premier concluded.