After attack against Muslim family, a call for action, not only prayers and thoughts

Kamloops Islamic Association director Umme Mansoory: “I think, overall, Canadians need to move beyond just thoughtful prayers and focus on more meaningful work, such as policy changes, pushing for legislation that protects all citizens and addressing the root cause of hate."

The Kamloops Islamic Association is not planning to hold a vigil in memory of the four Muslim family members killed in an alleged hate crime in London, Ont. on the weekend.

A fifth family member, a nine-year-old boy, is in hospital in stable condition.

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Such crimes are so common, an association director said, that prayers are no longer enough.

“I think, overall, Canadians need to move beyond just thoughtful prayers and focus on more meaningful work, such as policy changes, pushing for legislation that protects all citizens and addressing the root cause of hate,” Umme Mansoory told KTW.

Three generations of a Muslim family were killed on Sunday in London, when the family went for a walk and was struck down by a vehicle.

Police said they believe the attack to be motivated by hate.

In Ontario, the Muslim community paid tribute on Tuesday via a vigil accommodated by relaxed health restrictions.

The vigil was attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

Mansoory said the Kamloops Islamic Association held a solidarity event locally following the Quebec City mosque shooting in 2017, in which six people were murdered in their place of worship.

Mansoory said pressure instead needs to be put on politicians to move beyond blanket statements condemning Islamophobia.

“Prove it,” she said. “Show us that you care. Show us that you’re protecting your citizens. Show us that you’re truly sorry for what has happened.”

Mansoory said preventive policy is needed.

She called police charges of hate crimes “reactionary” and noted that, by the time someone is charged by police with a hate crime, it’s too late.

On several occasions, Mansoory said, Muslims in Kamloops have received threats online and in person. When the incidents are reported to police, not much can be done, she said.

“In their view, nothing has happened yet,” Mansoory said. “Oh, it’s just a threat. But that is what leads to tragic incidents.”

Mansoory said red flags can be found on social media and need to be addressed before they lead to violence.

In addition, she is calling on Canadians to inform themselves about cultures with which they are not familiar.

Mansoory said in the internet era — with ample information at one’s fingertips —there is no excuse not to educate oneself and learn about Islam.

In addition, she said people can attend events organized by local mosques and Islamic associations.

Outside of the pandemic, Kamloops Islamic Association hosts outreach events. She looks to political leaders to provide an example to the broader community.

“Learn about us, come share a meal with us,” Mansoory said.

“Come and realize we’re all the same … We all want the same basic human experiences. Race shouldn’t separate us. Religion shouldn’t separate us. We need to learn about one another so that we can gain that compassion — and education is a big piece of that.”

To learn more about the local Muslim community, which is currently seeking to relocate its Knutsford mosque closer to Thompson Rivers University, go online to ayeshamosque.com.

Outreach events will resume at a later date.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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