Assalamu’alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

Greetings of divine peace, blessings, and mercy to all.

We, the executive of the Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), express our deep sorrow and outrage at the climate of fear and brutal Islamophobia that has prevailed in North America and beyond in recent weeks.

We mourn with our Muslim members the white supremacist terrorist attack on the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in Sainte-Foy, Quebec, that left six cherished community members dead. We stand in the deepest sympathy and solidarity with the children and families of Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Azzedine Soufiane, Aboubaker Thabti, and Abdelkrim Hassane.The terrorist responsible for the deaths of these fathers and community figures was inspired by the Islamophobic and xenophobic vitriol which has intensified in recent months both inside Canada in the form of political campaigns such as those of Kellie Leitch, and beyond our borders in the new policies of President Donald Trump in the USA, and in the rhetoric of far right European politicians. We underscore, however, that this resurgent Islamophobia is not a new phenomena, and is merely a recent manifestation of a Canadian political climate that has included Stephen Harper, Pauline Marois, and many others guilty of vilifying Muslim communities. We especially deplore the despicable ban on the citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations instituted on January 27 by the US government. We stand with our Iranian, Somali, Iraqi, Yemeni, Libyan, Syrian, and Sudanese members who are either affected by this racist ban, have families affected, or are feeling marginalized and under attack during these difficult days. Our doors are open to any and all GSA members in need of support or advocacy.

The racist Muslim ban has had a devastating effect on post-secondary education; it has affected students and academics from the seven aforementioned nations studying at US institutions, especially those who were outside the USA at the time the ban was implemented and have not been able to re-enter. The impact on the scholarship and careers of these students must be truly difficult to bear. Many of our members at Carleton are also affected in myriad ways, including those with family in the USA, those with planned conference presentations and other academic opportunities at US institutions, and those who are justifiably fearful of crossing the border while Muslim in the present Islamophobic climate.

Despite shows of sympathy to the victims of Sunday’s terror attack in Saint-Foy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeauhas yet to condemn the Muslim ban or take substantive action to alleviate the suffering it has caused. We urge the Prime Minister to categorically condemn the ban and to withdraw Canada from the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, and open the doors to refugee applicants from the affected countries unjustly rejected by the US.

We also call upon President Runte to speak out against the ban and its deleterious effects on academics, as well as following the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia, Memorial University, Queen’s, the University of Toronto, and other institutions who have instituted measures to alleviate the suffering caused to students and scholars by the US policy. Examples of measures undertaken at the University of Ottawa include:

  • Accelerating the admissions process for students affected by the ban.
  • Implementing a tuition fee exemption program to enable affected students to study at the domestic tuition fee rate.
  • Work with Canadian immigration officials to facilitate the assignment of status to affected students so they can pursue studies without returning to their country of origin.

GSA members and all members of the Carleton community are encouraged to write to both Prime Minister Trudeau and President Runte in order to urge them to take these steps. We also ask everyone who is able to participate in upcoming demonstrations in Ottawa and elsewhere against Islamophobia.

We stand in wholehearted solidarity with our Muslim members and the Somali, Iraqi, Iranian, Sudanese, Yemeni, Libyan, and Syrian communities in Canada, the USA, and beyond. You are unconditionally loved and welcome at the GSA, at Carleton University, in Ottawa, and everywhere where people stand up to Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism.

Sincerely,

The GSA Executive