RACISM: Muslim Students Association Demands Answers From SFU After Targeted Incidents

Muslim students at SFU want public response from the school after two incidents targeting prayer areas during Ramadan. SFU says it’s committed to creating an “inclusive environment for our community”

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – The Muslim Students Association at Simon Fraser University (SFU) is demanding answers after two targeted incidents in the prayer areas at the University’s Burnaby and Surrey campuses during Ramadan and Muslims students.

On June 3rd, the day before Eid, a man who was not a student was seen urinating in the prayer area at the Surrey campus. On the same day, the charity box was trashed at the Burnaby campus, according to the Muslim Student Association, reported News 1130.

Ahmed Khan, president of the university’s MSA, says both prayer areas are said to be interfaith, but 90 per cent of the users are Muslim.

He feels what happened was targeted and he wants the school to talk about it. “Hearing a public statement from SFU stating that this was an attack on Muslims, it was Islamaphobic and we stand with the Muslim community [and] the Muslim students on our campus. I think that would be very much appreciated.”

In two separate statements to NEWS 1130, the university doesn’t mention Muslims or Islamaphobia and Khan thinks that should change. “Nowhere was there any statement regarding it being an Islamaphobic incident or one targeted towards Muslims, but rather they generalized to the entire interfaith group as a whole. They’re treating this as an incident targeted toward the interfaith community when it’s clear to everyone that this was targeted towards Muslims.”

SFU says it’s committed to creating an “inclusive environment for our community,” and stresses “The space where the incident occurred is not designated for a single faith and is a prayer space that is used by a number of faiths. We have been in regular contact with the Muslim Students Association and we have responded positively to a request from the National Council of Canadian Muslims to meet with the university.”

Over a month after two targeted incidents in the prayer areas at SFU and Muslims students say they’re waiting for a public response from the university.

Khan says the MSA has reached out for a meeting with the university and one has been confirmed but President Andrew Petter will not be in attendance.

“I am saddened and disappointed to learn about the regrettable incident that occurred earlier this month in the Surrey campus prayer space. Providing the Surrey campus interfaith community with safe, welcoming and more secure places to gather for prayer is something I am deeply committed to.

The person involved was not part of the SFU community and is no longer allowed to enter the Surrey campus. While members of the public are most welcome at the SFU Surrey campus we will not tolerate acts of discrimination in any form,” Steve Dolley, the SFU Surrey Campus Executive Director, said in a written statement.

Both incidents were reported to the RCMP and to the local Islamophobia hotline which is available 27/7 at 604.343.3828.

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