'We are one': Regina continues to honour victims of London attack

Members of Regina’s Muslim community and beyond continue to pay tribute to the four people who died as a result of what police call a targeted attack in London, Ont. on Sunday.

On Wednesday evening, more than 100 people gathered outside of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building for a memorial.

Dr. Mohammed Moolla attended the vigil and spoke to the crowd. He moved to Saskatchewan 23 years ago and said over the past few years, he’s seen a difference in behaviour.

“We are always creating this otherness, so ‘it’s not me, it’s them,’” he said. “If we recognize something is not right then we have to at least speak about it if we cannot stop it. When we speak about things, we bring each other to the same table. We bring information about who were are and what we are - we are just the same.”

Dr. Moolla said in the health care profession, they are taught to treat patients equally. He said that should translate to day-to-day life as well.

“We do not ask you where you are born, we do not ask where you come from or what the colour of your skin is or what faith you are. We provide you the care because we think of you as human,” he said.

“I see lots of families that have to go through grieving. I don’t want anyone to grieve because of a hate crime. I don’t want anyone to grieve for things that we can avoid.”

He said it’s important to build relationships in the community so everybody feels comfortable.

Many people who attended Wednesday’s vigil came from different backgrounds, which Moolla said shows there is humanity that is beyond colour.

“We came here just to recognize that a family, a human family, had died. It should not have happened,” he said.

Also in attendance at Wednesday’s vigil were municipal and provincial politicians and members of the Regina Police Service.

“I’ve heard people say ‘this is not who Canada is’ but sadly, it is. We can’t say it isn’t,” Chief Evan Bray of the Regina Police Service said while addressing the crowd. “This happened and until it’s not happening, we’ll have work to do.”

UNIVERSITY OF REGINA MEMORIAL

On Thursday afternoon, the University of Regina Muslim Student Association (URMSA), University of Regina International and the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan held a virtual vigil to honour the four lives lost in the London attack.

More than 100 people logged on for the memorial, which consisted of speeches, prayers and a moment of silence.

Haroon Chaudhry, the acting association Vice President of University of Regina International, said because so many backgrounds and faiths are represented on campus, it’s important to honour the Muslim community during this time.

“As we grieve the loss of this family of innocent victims, we must continue to fight against the haters and work together to create a safer world for our children and for generations to come,” Chaudhry said. “Racial violence such as this has no place in our country, our community, and it must be stopped.”

While addressing those attending the memorial, Chaudhry said this is not the time to sit back, but instead a time to come together.

“It’s time to fight against the racism that is so prevalent in our community. In solidarity, we can continue to support those affected,” he said. “Together we are stronger.”

The university’s interim president and vice-chancellor said the school is re-committing to providing a welcoming atmosphere.

“We will do everything in our power to keep the University of Regina, and the wider community, a safe place. A place where all people, including Muslim Canadians, feel welcome, feel safe and feel accepted,” Thomas Chase, the interim president, said.

Some people attending the vigil believe more can be done to overcome Islamophobia in our province and country.

Ahmed Aboudheir, the president of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, said thorough research is just a start.

“The cause of this killing fuelled by Islamophobia and hate for Muslims - what is the root of it? How can we get to the bottom of it? How can we eliminate it?” He said. “Let’s put the research and comprehensive study in to arrive on concrete steps to stop this.”

Aboudheir said more education throughout all levels of schooling curriculum could also help.

“Just how we can coexist, work together, be cooperating together and be useful to this society and this community despite our race, our colour, our faith,” he said. “That’s all life is about.”