After hearing news of the mosque shooting in Quebec City, Masuma Khan felt it was important for members of the Dalhousie Muslim Student Association to “take matters into our own hands” by organizing a vigil.
“The Muslim students here at Dal are sort of in a sense of panic and sorrow,” says Khan, the association’s president. “The only way that we can really address this issue is by uniting our community as one.”
On Sunday night, a shooter—or shooters, many details are still unknown—opened fire at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec during evening prayers. According to the Montreal Gazette, six people are dead while another five are in critical condition.
“I came to campus feeling scared—some other Muslim students came to campus feeling scared,” says Khan. “I think we really need to just address what’s going on and sort of heal together and stand together.”
At least three local vigils are scheduled in the wake of the shooting. Saint Mary’s University held a moment of silence at the campus art gallery at 12:30pm. Dal’s will take place at 4pm and a candlelight vigil organized by city hall will be held in Grand Parade Square at 6pm.
Khan says she and the rest of the association are hoping to see solidarity among students during Monday afternoon’s event, but that it’s important to support any of the vigils, regardless of who is putting it on. The event at Dalhousie is meant to focus on acknowledging on-campus Islamophobia and working to make the university a safe space for the Muslim students.
Going forward, says Khan, people outside the community should work to educate themselves and support “your Muslim brothers and sisters.” She also mentioned a Hijab day presentation and Q&A taking place at Dalhousie on Wednesday: a good opportunity for people to start that education.
“If you see someone who’s been attacked for being Muslim; stand up. Do something,” says Khan. “I think having these expectations or saying ‘This is the least you can do’ is reasonable.”