Yesterday, a motorist struck a family of five in London, Ontario, killing four. This would be tragedy enough, but, today, we learned that this was an intentional act motivated by Islamophobia.
In this moment of mourning, our deepest sympathies are with the extended family and the community. There are simply no words to express the loss and the sorrow of close ones losing their lives so senselessly.
There are countless words, however, for the pattern of Islamophobia we’ve witnessed across this country.
After January 29, 2017, when a man entered the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec (CCIQ) in Quebec City and began shooting at the 53 worshippers, injuring 19 and killing six, we spoke the names of those who lost their lives and we committed to collective action.
Following the near-weekly incidents dotting the country – from verbal harassment, to arson, to employers punishing workers for speaking out about Islamophobic abuse – we could count on hearing reassurances from local representatives that something would be done.
And yet, despite the words, we continue to find ourselves here, confronted by an incident of Islamophobia in which people lose their lives.
Now it’s time to redouble our efforts in the recognition of what Martin Luther King Jr called the “fierce urgency of now”.
In the recognition of those asking: how many lives must be impacted and even lost before we eradicate Islamophobia, from its everyday to its most tragic forms, once and for all?
Today, in the memory of the family and in solidarity with Muslims everywhere, CUPE Ontario recommits to echoing these voices; following the lead of Muslim leaders, many of whom are members and leaders of this union; and supporting the calls to action.
In the words of Nawaz Tahir, a London lawyer and representative of the Muslim community, “we will stand strong against hate. We will stand strong against Islamophobia. We will stand strong against terror with faith, with love, and a quest for justice. Hate will never overshadow the light of love.”