On June 6th, a Muslim family was targeted in what can only be described as premeditated terrorist attack in London, Ontario. Three generations of the Afzaal family were brutally murdered in the attack, leaving a young child in intensive care. This was an act of racism, Islamophobia, and white supremacy, which has shocked and horrified not only the GSA team, some of whom are Muslim, but our entire community.
Islamophobia and the targeting of Muslims through Anti-Muslim hate is not new. White supremacy and the ongoing system of colonization are directly connected, and the intersections of racism, Anti-Blackracism, Islamophobia, and other forms of oppression continue to be prevalent, with this attack – the largest and deadliest in London – being the latest example in a ramping up of violence. It is only through ongoing dismantling of white supremacy both in our communities and in ourselves that we can work to fight these systems and prevent the all too familiar realities of harm and violence.
Many community groups released a call for a National Action Summit on Islamophobia, which was recently passed unanimously by the Canadian Parliament. This is not the end of our work. Local Muslim mosques and communities fear for their safety. We encourage our members to support local Muslim groups and truly understand Muslims in a deeper way than simply acknowledging that Muslims exist. It is with chagrin that we note that many Muslims have noted feeling unsafe on campus for decades. It has been over 14 years since the last Task Force on the Needs of Muslim Students.
Muslim communities have borne the brunt of anti-Muslim and racist violence, and it is very clear that this violence has only just begun. It is well documented that hate crimes against Muslims are and have been on the rise. We encourage our members to be conscious of this when engaging with Muslim members of our community, and when dealing with Islamophobic or Anti-Muslim rhetoric.
When Muslims hear of the passing of an individual, or some bad act, the phrase “Verily we belong to Allah and verily to Him do we return.”(نَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ) is said.
As such, we end this statement with the same phrase.
نَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ
For more details and resources:
Watch the entirety of the Vigil and Funeral Ceremony at the London Muslim Mosque’s Facebook page
Read The Carleton University MSA’s Statement
Support the Salman Family Sadaqa Jariya Fund to support the survivor and relatives of the victims.