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‪My reflections on the hijab attack incident as we are getting closer to the sad anniversary of #QuebecMosqueShooting
On Jan 29, we will pray, remember and reflect but we will also need to come together and see how to counter #Islamophobia & #racism ‬in Canada and assess what we have done and what we should have done or not over one year. In spite of this horrific event, Canada still remains one of the safest and best countries in the world to live in including for us Muslims.

To be able to stand up against wrong things and wrong doings we have to get things right in our midst when it comes to our own existence and contribution to this nation. We cannot contribute effectively unless we coordinate our efforts and have a healthy communication among our communities or at least among our leaderships. We need to reflect as Canadian Muslim communities and members on the reasons why we are disunited and lacking the basic networking system among our communities and leadership.

Let’s take for instance the recent false hijab attack incident from last Friday and how it was handled - without getting into the discussion of probable harms and negativity it could cause.
There are many lessons to take from the said incident which we can sum up in a few points:
1. In the absence of a united voice for Muslims in this country, there will be more and more challenges in the future on how to represent Islam and Muslims and what they stand for. We are all made up of independent organizations and congregations rather than real communities with a united representation. There is nothing common amongst us except the fact that we are Muslims who happened to be Canadian and live in Canada. We don’t think together, we don’t plan together and we rarely work together except for a few individual efforts here and there.

2. Whenever news come out we should not jump into conclusions but wait patiently to ascertain the truth as the Qur’an commands us in Surat al-Hujurat (verse: 6). We are all guilty of spreading news and assuming things especially with social media’s rapidity and ease of sharing. I myself believed the story from last Friday and I was moved to hear of such incident because attacks on hijab wearing women and girls are real not fake news; they are happening all the time. This is why I posted the Toronto Star’s article here on Facebook but I only said it was outrageous since I was not sure what the facts were so I did not comment beyond that.

3. Truth can only spread by truth. Very often some may resort to making up things to make a point or to stress something. Unfortunately, there is a lot of that these days in social media. This is very dangerous and it is similar to those who fabricated Hadith in the past just to convince people of some special rewards of the Quran or certain chapters as if the authentic accounts were not enough. Light cannot be spread except by light or something that reflects it like the example of the sun and the moon. Our religion is referred to as a light and we should be worthy of carrying this light in spite of our imperfections and weaknesses but definitely never lie. Nobody likes lies and liars regardless of faith, culture or race. The Prophet (Blessings & Peace be upon him) taught us that Iman (Faith) & lying can never be in the same heart.

4. We should also think about the reasons why would an 11 years old child do such thing. A child is a child and in Islam children are not held legally responsible for their actions until they reach a certain age. This girl could have been anyone’s daughter and we would wonder as parents why would she do such thing? Instead of blaming the poor little girl we must ask ourselves what went wrong? Has Islamophobia reached deep into the psyche of Muslim children to the point some of them are trying to find a solution on their own and in their own way to counter it? May be what the little girl did was in her own judgement an attempt to stop the many recent attacks on hijab wearing girls and women in Canada and elsewhere. May be she heard hateful comments at school or in the street or she simply heard of horrific stories. Many studies have shown the heavy negative impact of Islamophobia and hate crimes on Muslims and specially on children.

There are many lessons to take from this and I hope that we can all learn from history and from our mistakes. We pray such incidents will be wake up calls for all of us and we ask Allah to forgive our shortcomings!
We pray again for the victims of the #QuebecMosqueShooting and for all the victims of oppression, injustice, terrorism and bigotry.
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