A vigil to give support to those affected by the shooting at the Québec City mosque on Sunday evening will be taking place at Victoria Park on Feb. 1.

Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) vice-president of public relations, Asiya Barakzai, and vice-president communications, Nida Ahmad, have organized the event on Facebook.

“This is our community response,” said Barakzai. “It’s a solidarity vigil, bringing together people of different ethnicities, of different faith backgrounds and just showing support for our Canadian Muslim brothers and sisters that were affected by the shooting.”

The event has only been live for one day but has already garnered over an immense amount of support. Over 1,200 people are interested or planning to attend the solidarity vigil.

Barakzai feels grateful for the overwhelming support and further expresses that the Québec City incident hits very close to home.

“Especially with all these anti-Islamic rhetorics,” said Barakzai. “The Muslim ban that is happening in the United States and hate crime incidences happening across Canada, it’s something we definitely need to speak out about ... it will show that we are united against all forms of hate that exists."

Everyone is welcome to attend the vigil and to offer support to the Muslim community in London. Due to Parliament resuming this week, many of London’s local politicians will be unable to attend. However, a number of them have spoken out about the recent events, expressing their thoughts on the shooting and reminding the London community to stand together.

Member of Parliament for London West Kate Young’s remarks have been read aloud at a gathering at the London Muslim Mosque on early Monday.

“London is an inclusive and fair community that has a proud Muslim history,” she wrote. “We must come together as a community and a country to lean on one another for support during this difficult time.”

In association with the MSA, USC's ethnocultural support services coordinator Temi Olasehinde is working closely with MSA president Hassam Ansari to organize an on-campus awareness event for this Wednesday and Thursday. The purpose of the event will be to start conversations with students as they pass by in the UCC atrium and to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community at Western.

USC president Eddy Avila states that his primary focus is to ensure student safety at Western while addressing these issues as a community. 

"I think it's important to note that we can't take a look at it as just a singular event," said Avila. "This is what you get when you start normalizing hate ... From our perspective, we really want to just make sure that students are aware but also Muslim students on our campus understand that it's totally valid to feel worried."

Individuals will be gathering at the main entrance of Victoria Park at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night this week. MSA will provide candles and set up a booth where attendees will be able to sign cards for the families of the victims. 

For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

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Grace is a news editor for volume 110 at the Gazette. She is a third-year neuroscience student minoring in French studies. If you want to reach Grace, email her at grace@westerngazette.ca

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