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United against anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia

A call to action in the aftermath of hate-motivated attack on Muslim family
Category:From the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion
June 08, 2021
Protestors hold placards, with one pointing toward the camera that says ‘Say no to Islamophobia.

Denise O’Neil Green calls on community to honour the lives of the victims and take action to condemn anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia. Photo by Shutterstock.

Our community is heartbroken at the news that four members of a London, Ont., Muslim family were murdered in what police are describing as a hate-motivated terrorist attack, fueled by anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia. Talat Afzaal (74), Salman Afzaal (46), Madiha Salman (44) and Yumna Afzaal (15) are survived by Fayez Afzaal (9) who remains in hospital.

We grieve and mourn with the families, friends of the victims and the wider Muslim community.  We hope that Fayez is surrounded by community, care and compassion on the road to recovery. 

The police have said that the perpetrator deliberately targeted the family because they were Muslim. The callous nature of the act, and the fact that a family out for an evening stroll can be so viciously and deliberately attacked has shaken not only our community, but Canada and the global community as well.

We call on each and every member of our community to honour the lives of the victims and take action towards condemning anti-Muslim racism, Islamophobia, bigotry, xenophobia, discrimination and its roots of white supremacy. We know that this incident is not isolated, but part of a long history of racism and discrimination that impacts Muslims on a daily basis in Canada. 

To Muslim students, faculty and staff, we recognize how attacks such as these—especially so close to home—can cause further racial trauma, shake your sense of mental well-being, safety and security. We encourage you to reach out to supports that are helpful to you including counselling services. Students can seek services through the Centre for Student Development and Counselling. Consent Comes First is available for gender-based violence support. 

Employees seeking counselling should access the employee assistance program for resources and counselling. The Muslim Employee Community Network is also available, offering peer support and resources.

All Ryerson community members are encouraged to contact Human Rights Services with any human rights-related concerns, questions or complaints of discrimination and harassment, whether it takes place in person or online.

We are reminded once again of the need to remain steadfast in our commitment to honour our university’s values of equity, diversity and inclusion. We cannot be complacent or complicit in the face of injustice and must all take responsibility for confronting and eradicating racism and discrimination in all forms.

Denise O’Neil Green
Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion

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