quebec-city-stock

NOTE: The following post has been updated to reflect new evidence.

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— 

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) 

I have quoted this on many occasions and never before in my life has it rung truer.

A gunman stormed a mosque in Quebec city during evening prayers and six people are dead. I feel paralyzed with anger, fear, sadness and bouts of rage. I am struggling to articulate the emotions running through me.

This is my home. This is my place of birth. I have to look my children in the eyes tomorrow morning when I tell them this happened. I have to tell them that people went to a mosque just a few hours away from where we live and were shot while worshipping peacefully. I have to comfort them as they ask questions any child would ask, are they safe? What’s going to happen? Why would someone do this? These are the questions that I, along with thousands of other Muslim parents will need to answer. 

The us versus them needs to stop. NOW. We need to stop it. 

We cannot simply look at what is happening just south of our border and think it’s not our circus, those are not our monkeys. This past weekend love TRUMPED hate. When President Trump issued an executive order to prevent Muslim immigrants and refugees travelling in from 7 Muslim majority countries  to return to their HOMES in the US, the good people of the United States of America came together to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. Lawyers sat on airport floors and offered their services pro bono, people delivered pizza, water bottles and other supplies to those protesting. I was reminded of the words of my childhood icon Mr. Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Fred Rogers

That is what I teach my children. That is what I remind myself. Good will prevail. 

Right now I have tears of anger streaming down my face. Enough. I will not be vilified, have my friends, family, children and loved ones vilified for crimes we did not commit. This is not about American politics right now and I will try to not digress. This is about violent lunatics that took AK-47’s into the mosque and started shooting. While motives are not yet known, this horrendous act of terrorism comes at a time when anti-Muslim sentiment south of the border is fuelling the flames of hatred right here in our own backyard. 

This is the not the first time this mosque was targeted. A pig’s head was left outside the mosque in June and a video of a man threatening to kill Quebec Muslims was posted online in 2015.

I have so many emotions ripping through my body right now begging to pour out onto this screen. I NEED to speak up. We cannot sit back and wait for someone to do something, to speak up, to make a difference. WE have to be the difference the world needs. Each and every single one of us. 

I am thankful every single day to be Canadian and I am especially thankful for our current Prime Minister who tweeted:

My friend Amanda posted this on her Facebook:

 🇨🇦Canadians, feeling helpless about what’s going on in the US? Here are some ways you can help #resist from the Great North — and ensure our own country stays free, too:

ENGAGE YOUR MP

Let your Member of Parliament know you want Canada to take a stand against the policies being instated in the US. Ask what is being done to welcome refugees here, and insist the law disallowing US asylum seekers be repealed.

VACATION WISELY

Canadians spend billions of dollars each year travelling to the US. Plan your next vacation within Canada (it’s big and beautiful and there’s no way you’ve seen all of it!) or consider visiting another country that has taken a public stand against the current US administration’s rhetoric. Sadly, while doing so will hurt those working in US tourism, choosing not to invest money in a country’s economy is often one of the only ways foreigners can effectively show dissatisfaction.

VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET

Canada loves cross-border deals. Approximately 20 million overnight shopping trips to the US are taken by Canadians yearly. But voting with our wallets sends one of the most powerful messages we can to a government: until it is legal for citizens of all countries to enter the US, Canadians will not be entering it – even for a bargain.

PUSH FOR ELECTORAL REFORM

If we want to avoid the same fate in Canada of an ultra-conservative, racist and anti-LGBTQ government, the best thing we can do is push for electoral reform. Make our Liberal government keep its promise to revamp our unbalanced voting system BEFORE the next election.

SUPPORT OUR MEDIA OUTLETS 

The state of our media is dire. It’s eroding at a rapid rate and with it, our democracy. The media keeps government honest by being granted full access and having the resources to fact-check official statements. It must never be restricted, nor attacked by leaders and policy makers. Let the government know a strong, unbiased media base is crucial to our democracy, and ask what plans they have to ensure its survival.

JOIN A PROTEST 

Let our American friends know they’re not alone. Organize and demonstrate — peacefully. Complacency is what allows regimes to gain power and remain powerful. But the power is always with the people if those people are loud enough and supported by others around the world. We’ve got you, America.  ❤

STAY VOCAL

Remain informed, remain a voice — while taking breaks for self-care, of course. Be careful where you get your news from and fact-check regularly. But for the love of humanity, use. your. voice.

We CAN make a difference. #NoBanNoWall  

I am going to do each and every single one of these things right now and I urge you to do the same. I feel like my heart has been ripped out of my body and cut into pieces when I think of the families of the five innocent Quebecers who were killed while peacefully worshipping inside of a mosque. I will speak up for each of their sakes. I will speak up for my children’s sake and I will speak up because good will prevail and in order for it to do so, we all need to speak up. Use social media. Tweet, share articles, post on Facebook. We all need to do our part in spreading good. Combatting hatred, bigotry, Islamophobia and any other form of discrimination is our collective responsibility. 

Tags : hate crimeIslamislamophobiamosqueQuebecshooting
Fariha

The author Fariha

Fariha is a mom of two, journalist, blogger, social media specialist and digital influencer. She is also an ambassador for Canadian diversity. Her blog specializes in lifestyle, automotive, travel, giveaway and product reviews from a uniquely Canadian perspective. If you are interested in collaborating or promoting your product, service or travel destination, email Fariha: editor@canadianmomeh.com or find her on Twitter @CanadianMomEh.

19 Comments

  1. You are not alone. Nor are you only supported by people who share your religion. I love you and I’m so sorry that someone who looks like me thinks nothing like me. Please know that those terrorists do not speak for me, or my friends. I will never teach my child to hate. I will actively teach him to appreciate the differences among us, and to stand up for human rights and civil liberties.

  2. Fariha I’m just reading about what happened in Quebec now. This is unbelievable and we do need to take action because everyone has a voice. We may not be able to stop the violence but we can start to educate people that those who are different from us in appearance and religion are the same as us underneath it all. We have the same hearts. Differences are what makes this country so great and fear of difference is what will tear it apart. Diversity should be embraced. I think
    you and I are both starting with that at home with our children. I teaching my children about all other cultures and you teaching yours the same. They are the future. Wishing you courage and strength as you explain this to them. I’m thinking about the families of the victims and what we can do for them. What a tragic loss this is to each family and their communities. I’m
    At a loss for words at the injustice of this hate crime.

  3. I am devastated by what happened yesterday in Quebec. You, your family and your community are in my thoughts today. Sending you love, strength and solidarity.

  4. What happened was so very wrong and I’m so very sorry. I’m going to share this story where I can. Much love to you and your family, and please stay strong. ❤

  5. Congrats on a really good write up. Some of your points are really great. My husband and myself had just discussed that we do not want to vacation in the US or spend money there -there are plenty of other places including our own country to see., places that treat their own citizens and others in a better fashion. It is scary to see the rapid decline in democracy in the USA and in other places recently. We have relatives in the US (immediate family) so we will not be able to totally boycott going there but aside from a few family visits (where we stay with family and hardly spend anything), we definitely do want to avoid going there for the foreseeable future. Hopefully Canada can come out of this without become a target of the Trump regime. I however do not agree with your point on electoral reform. Creating a zillion political parties who represent a tiny fraction of the population’s interests yet who may hold an inordinate amount of power if they are the group/groups needed to create a majority government is not a good way to go. There are many examples of countries (Italy, Israel etc) who have gone that route who have ended up with almost unworkable governments where decisions took forever since there are too many conflicting views and where extreme political groups wield a power far greater than their actual base of support. It is a scary prospect from my perspective. Slower government decision making (almost impossible to imagine) would be the result. More political parties is not necessarily better -it is just more. We will just have to agree to disagree on that one I am afraid. Good job on your write up though. I am glad that my sons are older so I do not have to explain the crazy US situation/increasing targeting of ethnic groups to young children. It is hard to know what to say as you do not want them to become frightened all the time.

  6. Thanks for the perspective, and as a Quebec woman, I agree with you completely. However, I do find it hypocritical that you speak about strong media after spreading uncited rumours regarding the gunmen. Please update your text so it does not contain these unverified statements regarding the gunman(men). Until you can site a reliable news source for your statement, you are only participating in the problem of unverified news. To keep our media healthy, we also need to be responsible citizens and cite our sources.

    1. Thank you for your comment Diana. You are absolutely right. I had been away from my blog over the course of the day as I was in back to back interviews on the subject. I will make the necessary changes. I will also be sharing my interviews on the blog in the coming days.

  7. Would you have done the same if this tragedy occurred in a Evangelical Church – Non Muslim?

    Would the press have dedicated such resources ?

    Would PM Trudeau proclaim this a terrorist act and provided such support?

    Would thousands of people comment on social media decrying such a tragedy?

    How about YOU – the general public?

    1. Brian, to answer your questions, yes. As Canadians, we stand united as one. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. Coming together at times of such tragedy is what strengthens the bonds of our beautiful nation.

  8. Hi Fariha, I agree with Justin Trudeau’s statement that this was a terrorist attack on the Muslim Community. I am a non-Muslim but I feel this attack personally because it goes against all the personal and Canadian values I hold dear. I am sending love and good thoughts.
    p.s. I saw your interview on Aljajeera’s Inside Story and was inspired to donate to the victim’s families and to write to Justin Trudeau to commend him on his response to this tragedy and his stance on diversity. l In the Inside Story interview it was clear that you believe and trust
    that the majority of Canadians care for you, support you, and will stand beside your community. Thank you for your trust in us!

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