Students from all backgrounds came together for a vigil at UBC Okanagan on Monday night to remember the victims of the New Zealand massacre.
The good turnout touched organizer Sumayia Abedin, president of the UBCO Muslim Students’ Association.
“It just goes to show things like this don’t just affect a certain group of people, they affect all of us,” Abedin said of the shooting at two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people and injured dozens more. “They hurt all of us. They kind of make you uncertain about the future. They make all of us feel scared and vulnerable.”
Abedin believes there are more things that unite the world than make us different.
“A lot of the time, Islamophobic messaging preys on those differences,” she said. “They prey on it so much that you’d think all you have are differences and nothing else and that there’s no hope of reconciliation.”
The UBCO student encouraged anyone with questions about the religion to connect with those of the Muslim faith to foster better understanding, including visiting a local mosque.
“If you reach out to them, share an email, talk to them,” Abedin said. “Tell them, ‘I’m really sorry about what happened in Christchurch. Let me know if you want to talk. Let me know if I can do anything.’ Just that messaging, just for Muslims to know that our friends, our neighbours here are there for us, are standing with us: That goes such a long way in easing the pain and relieving the burden.”