Statement on the Lethal Islamophobic Attack in London, Canada
The Order of Saint Joachim was founded in 1755 with the purpose of promoting religious tolerance. The Order was uniquely composed of both Protestant and Catholic nobles and leaders at a time when religion violently divided Europe, and other knightly orders allied themselves exclusively as defenders of one faith or the other. In the present day, the Order has extended that mission of tolerance to a broader socially progressive mandate and welcomes individuals regardless of faith, gender, race, nationality, class or sexual orientation. It stands resolutely opposed to sectarian violence and religious extremism in any form.
In keeping with its original and ongoing mission, the Grand Master, Grand Chapter and members of The Order of Saint Joachim condemn the senseless and cowardly Islamophobic violence that took place in London, Ontario, Canada, on June 6, 2021, that resulted in the cowardly murder of four innocent family members and forever devastating the life of their surviving 9 year old boy.
While this senseless act appears to be the deed of a single, hate-filled person, he appears to have been motivated by a dark strain of intolerance and hate that exists in every culture towards those of different faiths. This ugly disease of religious and ethnic hatred is fed by social and some traditional media, as well as opportunistic political and religious leaders, and inevitably leads to violence and tragedy. All religions teach kindness towards strangers, immigrants and refugees, yet many of the perpetrators of religious violence claim to be devout themselves.
Today we remember the innocent victims of intolerance and senseless religious bigotry who lost their lives in this cowardly act: parents Salman Afzal and Madiha Salman, daughter Yumna Afzal age 15, and her 74 year old grandmother. We keep surviving 9 year old son Fayez Afzal in our prayers and grieve with him for the devastating loss of his family.
Members of the Order of Saint Joachim have already contributed to the various benevolent support funds set up to care for Fayez Afzal.
The Order of Saint Joachim was founded in 1755 with the purpose of promoting religious tolerance, and 266 years later there is still much work to do.
JUNXIT AMICUS AMOR
H.E. The Chevalier Stephen Lautens GCJ