Members of the Dalhousie University Muslim Association held a candlelit vigil on campus to honour the lives of the six men gunned down in the Quebec City mosque shooting.
“We remember, mourn and commemorate, the one-year anniversary of the Quebec mosque massacre,” Amina Abawajy said, a member of the Dalhousie Student Muslim Association.
The solemn atmosphere served as a poignant reminder to many speakers that there is still a sense of “denial” when it comes to admitting discrimination exists in Canada.
“Many marginalized folks are facing this. Violence is not just something that Muslims are facing, so many people are facing it and we’re not alone, we’re not alone in this fight,” Masuma Khan said, another member of the Dalhousie Student Muslim Association.
Khan says as an Afghan-Muslim woman, she’s constantly having to convince people of the direct and indirect forms of “hate mongering” she faces on a weekly basis.
“Every time I tell someone, ‘Oh you know, it was Islamophobic, oh there was a micro-aggression today, oh you know, someone called me a terrorist in the SUB [student union building],’ they don’t believe me. Why don’t you listen when we tell you what we’re feeling? It’s as if you go to the doctor and you tell the doctor, ‘I have a fever,’ and the doctor is like, ‘No, you’re absolutely fine,'” Khan said.
Khan believes that widespread denial speaks to a larger picture of people “hiding behind their words,” instead of striving for action to make genuine connections with minority groups.
“I’m asking everyone here to start educating yourselves. We are here in your community, we want to be part of your community but we can’t do all the work. You also need to listen when we’re telling you that this violence is happening,” she said.
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