Dear King’s community,
On behalf of our community, I extend condolences and sympathy to the Afzaal family whose members from three generations were attacked and killed in London on Sunday June 6, when they were taking a walk on a spring evening – something most of us can do taking our safety for granted. This was obviously an attack based on the virulent hatred that is Islamophobia that all Canadians must reject. We extend our love to those killed, to the little boy who survived and to all who love them and to the Muslim communities of London and Halifax and of communities across the country.
I appreciate how difficult this week will be for members of the King’s community who are Muslim or who have connections to London. Supports are available to employees and students, including multifaith services through Dalhousie. Our Chaplain, Father Ingalls, is also available for support or referral to others in the community able to help.
These events remind us that there is a large and vibrant Muslim community in Halifax, including the Ummah Mosque that is only a few blocks from the Quad. This Mosque and its community centre are neighbors with whom we have little connection and no real relationship to demonstrate our desire to live with them in shared community and mutual respect and understanding. In honour of those who have been killed in London, and as a small contribution to addressing the othering that allows Islamophobia to exist in our society, this is something we must address by, with humility, extending friendship to this Mosque community. Today, Father Ingalls and I agreed to start that process by each reaching out to this community to express our condolences and to invite deeper friendship, now, in the coming year and forever more. Indeed, this is a time to look toward deepening our friendship with our many faith-based neighbours to whom we are connected through our shared humanity, and today, through our shared grief and determination to effect change.
President and Vice-Chancellor