It is important to acknowledge and name violent acts, call them out, and denounce them. Because our words matter. There are times though when words also seem grossly inadequate, such as this most recent act of hate and Islamophobia targetting an innocent Muslim family, in London, Ontario, on the evening of Sunday June 6.
Four members of a Muslim family were unfortunate victims of this horrific truck-attack as they waited at an intersection to cross the street. The members of the family who lost their lives are: the father, 46 years-old; the mother, 44 years-old; their daughter, 15 years-old; and the grandmother, 74 years old. The youngest in the family, their son, nine years-old, sustained serious injuries and is in hospital fighting for his life.
If a family of five, enjoying a simple walk in their own neighbourhood on a Sunday evening, can be deliberately attacked in this senseless manner, how are other members of that community supposed to make sense of such extreme hate and bigotry, the feelings left-behind, that an enemy lurks about? How can grieving individuals, families, and communities find the tools to deal with emotions that can leave behind a trail of nervousness and anxiety when stepping out of their homes? Where can they (we/everyone) find safety, belonging, and stability, those basic components of feeling ‘at`at home’ in one’s own home, in Canada?
“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act and that the family was targeted because of their Muslim faith,” said Paul Waight, Detective Superintendent of the London Police, at a news conference on Monday afternoon. London Mayor Ed Holder communicated a similar message when he said, “Let me be clear: This was an act of mass murder, perpetrated against Muslims — against Londoners — and rooted in unspeakable hatred.”
Real action, justice, and good policy frameworks are needed in addition to words condemning such hateful massacres. Canada is at a critical time of reckoning; and we must be sensitive to understanding small stories of hate and bullying, and big events like terrorist acts, on a continuum of racism and colonialism. We, as individuals and communities, must all stand together, in solidarity and ally-ship. We must be united not only by our differences but also through our compassion, empathy and collective impact.
We express our utmost horror, grief and anger against this hate-targeted terrorist attack. The Newcomer Students Association (NSA) is a national nonprofit organization whose mandate is to promote and advocate for inclusion, equity, and racial justice for post-secondary newcomer, immigrant, and refugee students. We stand in solidarity with the Muslim community and Muslim students in all post-secondary institutions in Canada. We continue to be committed to addressing and fighting hate, Islamophobia and racism in all its forms in Canadian campuses and the broader community.
The Newcomer Students’ Association
LaunchGood Fundraiser – London Community United Against Hate, donate to help support the family
Community and Mental Health support
Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support and Integration, London, Ontario: 519-672-6000 ext. 309
Community Mental Health Association (Middlesex) – Mental Health Support or Crisis Services: 519-433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023
Additional Mental Health Support resources available in Ontario can be found here.