During a Muslim Student’s Association-sponsored peace rally held at Mount Royal University on Oct. 6, Islamophobic graffiti was found in the smoking area near Wyckham House.
Produced by Anna Junker
A few days after the initial graffiti was found, A Calgary Journal reporter found an additional Islamophobic message on a poster for the MSA promoting their charity week.
The president of MRU’s Muslim Student Association, Adeel Khan says that it is important to deal with these instances of hate speech quickly.
“I don’t think most people actually have that view, but whoever has that view, that is hate speech.... It shouldn’t be up to the Muslims to get it addressed, it should be up to the university.... It’s just getting that addressed, getting the hate speech off of campus and having a positive response to it. Finding something positive in that negative light.”
This peace rally was held in support of the Muslim students at the University of Calgary, where on Oct. 4, 40 Islamophobic posters were found on campus. This happened just a few weeks after Sept. 19, when 12 posters with anti-Sikh messages were found at the University of Alberta campus.
“We didn’t think we would get too many people because the campus was actually pretty like, dead that day....We got a bunch of balloons and on those balloons we got people to write something that they knew about Islam, wanted to learn about Islam, or loved about Islam. And most people you know, wrote amazing comments like ‘awesome culture,’ ‘sad about what happened at U of C,’ or ‘not many people think that way,’” says Khan.
In a written statement sent out by MRU president David Docherty to both faculty and student organizations, he wrote that the school will not tolerate racism and will stand in solidarity with affected students and employees.
“Expressions of hate in any form and directed at any group or individual have no place on our campuses.”
Avneet Padda, vice president of the Sikh Student’s Association at Mount Royal University, says that it would also be beneficial to hold an ‘awareness’ or ‘culture days’ event at MRU so people are able to learn more about different religions and cultures.
“Sometimes you just want to know about people’s culture because it is so interesting. It would be nice if people could do that, and it would be nice because if I walk into my class the next day, people would know about me and my background.”
- By Anna Junker