Dear Muslims: Today is not a day to be silent
We all watched in horror as a terrifying scene unfolded in Ottawa yesterday. We worried for our friends and family who call the nation's capital home, and wondered how anyone could commit such a heinous and cowardly act. And then our minds went to the place it always goes when awful attacks like this happen: we prayed and hoped that this terrible atrocity hadn't been committed by a Muslim.
Details remain sketchy about the motives of the man who perpertrated these attacks. But one thing remains clear: we as Muslims can no longer stay silent.
Whether or not this person was a Muslim, whether or not he was "acting in the name of Islam", and whether or not he was born in this country -- we cannot idly sit back and watch as horrible and senseless violence is perpretrated in this country, whatever the motive.
I know you hate defending yourself against a man who has nothing to do with you or your religion. Trust me, I hate it too. Every time media outlets ask me to offer a "Muslim reaction" to these incidents, a part of me dies inside. But I know I need to find the strength to soldier on. Because it has to be done. Whether we like it or not, the word "Muslim" or "Islam" will get thrown in with every conversation about Wednesday's events, so I might as well be at the table when it happens.
So friends, I implore you: talk to your people, post on social media, write op-ed articles for your local paper. Tell them how you're feeling. Share what your Imams are saying during their Friday sermons. Let people know that we are just as scared as every other Canadian. Because when people attack Canada, they attack us too. And we have been doubly victimized by those who think we should apologize or pay the price for the actions of one man.
Everyone is going to be talking about Muslims today. And it sucks. But let's be part of that conversation, instead of just staying silent.
Peace and Blessings,
PS: Glad to see these guys got the memo