We are deeply saddened about the souls lost in the horrific attack last night at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy, Québec. We grieve for their families and bow our heads in deference to Our Lord, praying for the purification of their souls, a safe recovery for those injured, and patience for all the families affected by this senseless act of violence. We pray that all families are reunited in Paradise, free from the strife and pain of this world, Aameen.
As a message to our greater community, we would like to thank you for the outpouring of support that we have received from our fellow citizens. Many events and campaigns are being organized across the province, some of which include candlelight vigils, and other shows of solidarity. We recognize and appreciate the sincerity, good intent, and willingness to publicly show condemnation of this terrible act.
While we greatly appreciate the love that has been demonstrated through these campaigns, we would like to share that candlelight vigils are not from the Muslim tradition. We recognize that our fellow Canadians, moved deeply by recent events, are looking for ways to support the Muslim community but may not know the best way how. We are grateful to be part of such a loving, strong community, and as such, we hope to communicate what would be the most beneficial for the Muslim community and all of us Canadians at large.
1) Stay informed. Try your best to be up-to-date on new developments in this story and other Islamophobic attacks that are rising all across the nation. Be aware of policy changes and proposed laws and bills.
2) Discuss these happenings with your daily circles. We have seen that true change comes most strongly from our day to day interactions. In this way, we can work from the ground up to ensure that discriminatory sentiments are unwelcome in our society.
3) Physical support- for those in the Ste-Foy and greater Québec area, one of the ways in which you can physically provide support is by attending the funeral services at your local mosque or visiting the families themselves.
4) Provide financial support. Many pro-bono organizations are working to advocate for those affected, and monetary support for them ensures that they can continue in their efforts. Furthermore, campaigns have also been set up to aid the families that have lost one of their primary caregivers.
5) Communicate with your local government representatives, policy makers and community leaders. Let them know that you condemn these attacks and ask them what they plan to do in response to situations such as these and how they hope to prevent them in the future.
6) Involve the Muslim community in your discussions and dialogues. We appreciate the mass support that is shown in events such as vigils, but what would be even more greatly beneficial would be large events such as town halls and community discussions where representatives from affected communities can be present and actively invited to be part of guiding that discussion and resulting solutions.
7) Lastly, check in on the Muslims in your life. Sending a message or a phone call is a wonderful gesture of goodwill and allows us to be stronger as a community.
One of the sisters received this message from someone she used to go to high school with:
“Hi [name], I know we haven’t spoken in a while, but I just wanted to reach out because I’ve been so heartbroken and angry and lost with recent events against our Muslim communities, thinking a lot about friends like yourself and wanting to do something. I just wanted to say (and this applies always, not just in the moment right now) but if you ever need anything, like tedious errands are piling up where you’d rather be spending important time with your family, please let me know and I’d be happy to help in any way that I can.”
Don’t underestimate the great value of kind words and gestures. Reaching out in this way is very impactful in building and strengthening relationships!