CCA: Unite against hate, Islamophobia, and white supremacy

Dear colleagues, 

The following statement was issued earlier today by the York Cross-Campus Alliance, which includes the York University Faculty Association.

We support our Muslim colleagues, students, co-workers, and friends

The York Cross-Campus Alliance (CCA) condemns the horrific terror attack that took place at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, in which 50 people lost their lives and dozens more were seriously injured. We reject in the strongest terms possible the hate and Islamophobia that motivate attacks like these, as well as the white supremacist ideology and networks that nurture them. We re-commit ourselves to opposing all forms of racism and bigotry.

On behalf of our members, we express our condolences to the families and friends of all those affected by the attack. We also express our solidarity with our Muslim colleagues, students, co-workers, and friends at York University, and with all those communities who are feeling vulnerable in the wake of this terrible crime.

The terror attack in New Zealand is the latest in a number of deadly hate crimes that have been directed at racialized and religious communities in recent years.

On October 28, 2018, a shooting took place at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in which 11 people were killed and seven injured. This was the deadliest attack against the Jewish community in the United States, and is part of an alarming trend of anti-Semitic hate crimes across North America.

On January 29, 2017, a gunman opened fire during evening prayers at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, killing six and injuring 19. The perpetrator had a history of expressing white nationalist and anti-Muslim views. In the year before the attack, the mosque had been the target of Islamophobic hate crimes.

On June 17, 2015, nine people were killed and three injured in a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, one of the oldest Black churches in the United States. The shooter was a white supremacist who targeted the church because its parishioners were Black.

The common denominator to these and many other terrorist attacks is the hate for difference that drives them. They have taken place against the backdrop of a rise in far right and white supremacist activity, which has become increasingly visible in many social media platforms, and have been assisted by the inaction of regulators, politicians, and governments in countries around the world, including Canada.

We are heartened by the widespread resistance that has emerged in response to this hate. In the wake of the attacks in Christchurch, there has been an international outpouring of grief, solidarity, and support for New Zealand’s Muslim community, just as the world rallied after the attacks in Pittsburgh, Quebec City, and Charleston. There has also been a drive to unity among diverse communities and a growing global movement to combat hate, racism, bigotry, and all forms of oppression.

The morning after the attacks, members of the CCA distributed single carnations to members of York University’s Muslim community as they departed Friday prayers in the Second Student Centre. This was just one solidarity gesture among untold others that were replicated in locations all over the world, a sign that love is stronger than hate.

We will build on acts like these and strengthen the bonds of solidarity that hold all of our communities together. As we mourn the loss of life in this recent tragedy, we also find comfort in the countless expressions of humanity that followed it and in every opportunity to show support for one another. We strongly believe in the possibility of a world without racism and bigotry, and we continue to organize to make that a reality.

We call for university administrators, politicians, and governments at all levels to take vigorous action to confront far right extremism and hate in all its forms, including the provocative display of hate symbols, and to counteract the business model of social media companies that derives profit from extremism and hate-mongering.

The struggle against hate is a difficult one, but we will never back away from it.

Read CAUT’s Statement of the Terrorist Attacks in New Zealand.

Read past statements by YUFA condemning hate: 

YUFA condemns rise of anti-Semitic incidents
Unite against hate, racism, and Islamophobia

The York Cross-Campus Alliance includes the following groups: 

CUPE 1356
CUPE 3903
OPSEU 560
OPSEU 578
York Federation of Students
York University Faculty Association
York University Graduate Students’ Association
York University Staff Association

For more information, please email yufa@yorku.ca.