Canadian varsity announces scholarships in honour of Pakistan-origin couple killed in anti-Muslim attack

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Salman Afzaa (right) with his mother, wife and children. File photo

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

The Western University of Ontario, Canada, has announced setting up two scholarships in honour of Salman Afzaal and Madiha Salman, the couple killed along with two other family members in an attack in Ontario on June 6.

The award will help ensure the people remember how Madiha Salman and her husband Salman Afzaal lived as people who embraced inclusion, valued education and built up their community.

The “MadihaSalman Memorial Scholarship in Civil and Environmental Engineering” will go each year to a full-time female graduate student enrolled in a doctoral or master’s programme within the department of civil and environmental engineering, whose research is focused on environmental engineering.

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Madiha Salman earned her master’s in engineering at Western and was working for her PhD in environmental engineering. The university awarded her a posthumous doctorate during June’s virtual graduation ceremony.


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“As a Muslim, Madiha Salman strongly believed in inclusivity and so this award will be open to students who advocate for inclusion of all races and religions,” a spokesperson for her family said.

The university has also established the SalmanAfzaal Memorial Scholarship in Physical Therapy, to be awarded each year to a full-time graduate student enrolled in a doctoral or master’s programme in health and rehabilitation sciences.

Preference will be given to a student involved in leadership, research and/or innovation in physical therapy. Salman earned his master’s at Western in 2010 and worked as a physiotherapist in long-term care homes.

Canada-Hate-Crime-main1-750People mourn Pakistani family members killed in the attack in London. File

The couple had been walking on a west London sidewalk with their 15-year-old daughter Yumna, nine-year-old son Fayez and Salman’s mother on the evening of June 6 when they were hit by a truck.

The London police allege the driver targeted them for being Muslims. The tragedy sparked shock, grief and anger throughout Canada and around the world.

Western, London and the nation rallied in support of the family and to condemn Islamophobia. A vigil, an interfaith memorial walk, and their funeral drew tens of thousands of mourners. Endorsed by the family, the scholarships will offer comfort and commemoration, said Western University President Alan Shepard.

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