On 29 January 2017, exactly one year ago today, a young white, Christian man walked into a mosque in Quebec City and murdered Azzedine Soufiane, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Ibrahima Barry and Abdelkrim Hassane. Five others were badly injured: Aymen Derbali, Said El-Amari, Mohamed Khabar, Nizar Ghlai and Said Akjour.
This was the largest hate-motivated mass shooting in Canada in 25 years, and the first time Muslims had been killed inside a mosque in North America. It is one of the most important moments in Canadian history. Even in the aftermath of such violence, Muslim people and communities in Quebec City have continued to face increasing public displays of racism and Islamophobia.
January 29th happened in the context of decades of wars against Muslim-majority countries, which has normalized the killing of millions of Muslims. This dehumanization has resulted in a 253% increase in the rate of attacks on Muslim people and communities in Canada between 2012 and 2015.
All people have the right to live free from violence, discrimination and coercion. It is crucial to understand the effect of racist violence and the fear of that violence as impacting health outcomes, autonomy and the well-being of individuals, families and communities. We cannot ensure health, including sexual and reproductive health, without also working to end racism and Islamophobia.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights stands in solidarity with the Muslim community today and every day. Today at Action Canada, we #RememberJan29