The news of the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand this past Friday left us at the Ryersonian at a loss for words. The senseless violence and loss of life shocked and saddened us deeply. We are mourning the loss of the 50 innocent people that were killed, and we send our love to those that were injured.
When tragedies like this occur, it is important that we as a community here at Ryerson, and also we as citizens of Canada, come together to help each other find peace and recover. And that is exactly what Toronto has done. A vigil was held in Nathan Phillips Square to remember and honour those who lost their lives, and to stand up as a community against the fear and hate that motivates people to act out with this kind of violence.
At the vigil, Nadia Hasan, deputy director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, spoke out about the Islamophobia that usually motivates these attacks.
“If we don’t call out hate at every opportunity we get, it will fester and grow into something much worse than just words – as we have seen at the New Zealand mosques today, as we saw at the Pittsburgh synagogue last year, at the Quebec City mosque the year before, the Charleston church in 2015.”
Hundreds of individuals and many organizations came to the vigil to show their support for the Muslim community, and to stand up against hate and racism in its many forms. It is this kind of love and outpouring of support that will get us through dark moments like this, and help us band together even stronger.
It is togetherness that is needed. It is showing bigotry and white supremacy that they will not win that is necessary. And it is never forgetting the innocent people who lost their lives, both in this tragedy, as well as in other tragedies like this.
“Make no mistake,  innocent people were killed in those two mosques in New Zealand and countless others were injured in a terrorist attack inspired by Islamophobia against innocent Muslims,” Ahmed Hussen, the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said at the vigil.
“We should never be afraid to name the victims, and to name the religion, and to name the places of worship that people are targeted in … we can never normalize this hatred.”
And so we at the Ryersonian won’t forget.