The Kingston community is organizing to show support for the Muslim community after four people were killed in what police are calling a hate-motivated attack in London, Ont., this past weekend.
The Islamic Society of Kingston is holding a vigil Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Springer Market Square following the brutal killings of a Muslim family in London on Sunday. Only a nine-year-old boy survived the attack with serious injuries. London police say that there is evidence the attack was planned and motivated by hate.
“We’re having a vigil just to express our sadness, our sorrow, our frustration, as well as just stand in solidarity, not just with other Muslims, but with Canadians, with Kingstonians,” said Imam Abubakar Mulla.
Mulla said he and others in the community have gone through a range of emotions since Sunday night’s attack, from shock to dismay to anger.
“This incident that took place over the weekend highlights the fact that at one point we felt safe walking on the streets. But with such an incident now it seems that I am a bit more cautious now when I walk with my wife and my children down the street,” Mulla said.
He added that he feels things have been getting worse in Canada for those who are Muslim, and that Canadians can no longer call Islamophobic attacks isolated incidents.
“This is a changing landscape in Canada where these types of occurrences and incidents are becoming more common,” he said.
Mulla said the Islamic Society of Kingston has organized Wednesday night’s vigil so that all those in Kingston can come together and stand against hate, stand with the family and promote a message of peace and togetherness.
“We stand together with our brothers and sisters in humanity to, number one, stand in solidarity and to raise our voice that these things are unacceptable and that some action must be taken, and that we need to move past just statements and condemnations and move into action,” he said.
Due to gathering limits, the Islamic Society has asked that those who attend not stay long.
“In order to comply with current restrictions on outdoor gatherings (10 people) it is very important that people keep moving either by walking or driving. A walkway will be marked where people can move and still hear around the square. Please do not linger,” the Society said.
Also in Kingston on Tuesday night, a group of about 100 people walked in the Greenwood Park neighbourhood, some holding signs saying “peace” and “love,” as a show of support for the Muslim community following the London attack.
Heather Dow and her partner Rob Switzer organized the walk, saying that they felt they needed to take some kind of action.
“We felt a bit helpless so we invited our community in Greenwood Park to walk in solidarity around the block,” said Dow.
She said the walk started out small but grew as they made their way through the neighbourhood.
Dow said there was even a teen who stopped while riding by on his bike to ask what the group was doing, and joined in “enthusiastically” after hearing what the walk was for.
She said she and her family will also be attending Wednesday night’s vigil.