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Canadian Judge Rules the Killing of Four Muslims Was Terrorism

A Canadian judge ruled on Thursday that the deadly rampage of a man who drove his truck into five members of a Muslim family was an act of terrorism motivated by white supremacist ideology and sentenced him to life with no possibility of parole for 25 years for his crimes.

The terrorism finding by Justice Renee Pomerance of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario was the first in Canada against a far-right extremist, according to the country’s criminal prosecution service. The perpetrator, Nathaniel Veltman, 23, killed four members of the Afzaal family in London, Ontario, in his June 2021 rampage and was convicted of first-degree murder and attempted murder in November.

In his trial, Mr. Veltman’s lawyers did not challenge that he had deliberately driven his Ram truck into the family. But they argued it was an impulsive act caused by consuming psilocybin, more commonly known as magic mushrooms, several hours earlier. They also said that he suffered from mental health problems and had difficulty controlling “an urge or obsession to put his foot on the gas” of his pickup.

But Justice Pomerance said Mr. Veltman was motivated by white supremacy.

“One might go so far as to characterize this as a textbook example of terrorist motive and intent,” Justice Pomerance told the courtroom in London, Ontario, according to the The Canadian Press, a news agency.

“He wanted to intimidate the Muslim community. He wanted to follow in the footsteps of other mass killers, and he wanted to inspire others to commit murderous acts,” she said, adding that it was an “inescapable conclusion” that the killing was an act of terrorism.

“The offender did not know the victims,” the judge said during the sentencing, in which she never referred to Mr. Veltman by name to avoid giving him publicity. “He had never met them. He killed them because they were Muslim.”

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