The aftermath of the Christchurch massacre in which a terrorist killed 50 Muslims while praying Jum`ah prayer on March 15 is having its impact on the lives of Muslim teens in Canada, with many feeling unsafe, afraid, angry, and unwelcome.
Salahuddin Khan, a 14-year-old Canadian Muslim teen, sat close to the door when he and his family went to their local mosque for Friday prayers last week.
“In case something did happen, we wanted to be close to an exit,” he told CBC Kids News from his home in Mississauga, Ont.
“People were sitting near the doors. It was more crowded around there,” he added.
The young Muslim teen was also keeping a close eye on his brothers, saying he felt a “little more unsafe than I usually do.”
Terrorist Brenton Harrison Tarrant killed 50 Muslim worshippers in Friday’s attacks as he targeted Al Noor and Linwood mosques.
Even though New Zealand is far away, Khan said he felt “devastated … because it’s really sad news.”
Khan is not the only young Muslim who felt devastated after the news of Christchurch massacre.
Ibrahim Hindy, an imam at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, has been speaking this week to students at private Islamic schools in Ontario to reassure them that they can feel safe in Canada.
“It’s only a small group of people that dislike Muslims. Most people are welcoming,” he told kids.
He also tried to reassure them that when they go to their mosque, they are in a safe place.
“People go to the mosque every day and are able to worship in peace and safety,” he said.
“Just like we wouldn’t be afraid of taking a car because there’s a chance of something terrible happening.”
Advice to Parents
In addition to processing the New Zealand tragedy for themselves, concern about the emotional trauma young Muslims hearing about these events plagues Muslim parents.
Talking to children about tragedies like natural disasters, mass shootings, and terrorist attacks can be difficult.
Many children may experience fear, shock, anger, anxiety, and grief, so it is essential for parents to prepare to have conversations with their children.
Young Muslims may experience different levels of emotional trauma when learning about the targeting and murder of Muslims.
For more information on dealing with Islamophobia trauma, check this article.