ST. JOHN’S – In an attempt to spread spirits of unity and understanding, the Department of Religious Studies at the Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) is working on a project that addresses Islamophobia through media and cinema, The Muse reported on February 27.
The project currently presents a ‘Winter 2019 film series’ to the students, showcasing relevant movies about Islamophobia and how to fight it for a better Canadian society based on social solidarity.
“The main goal of the project is to build capacity, inspire and encourage,” said Jenifer Selby, one of the project’s co-leaders.
“It all started when on October 2017, hate-filled posters about Islam hanged all around the MUN campus in St. John’s city, people everywhere started talking more against islamophobia and racism,” she continued.
Immediately after the incident, the department arranged two consultations with non-profit organizations where MUN students are greatly involved, followed by a conference on September 2018 to co-create anti-Islamophobia advocacy, ally-ship, and education.
The event is now followed by the 2019 film series where it gives a platform to speakers and guests to talk about countering Islamophobia and share their experiences with students and every interested person in the community.
2019 Winter Film Series
The first film ‘Your Last Walk in the Mosque’ was screened on Jan 29, 2019, where it commemorates the January 2017 Islamophobic terrorist shootings in Quebec. It showed the after-effects of the dreadful incident on the Canadian Muslim victims and their families.
The movie showed how the whole Canadian community came together and gave support to each other. Instead of hiding in their house for fear and despair, they stood by each other with whatever they had.
All of the survivors and their families, rather than feeling extreme hatred towards the 25-year-old terrorist who ruined their lives, were very forgiving and compassionate. They believed their loved ones, who died on that dark day in the mosque, were martyrs.
The scenes showed that the only thing they want now is peace and no repetition of this kind of incidents anywhere. This didn’t only make everyone teary but also raised goosebumps.
After the film screening, there was a small discussion among the audience. Many different views were exchanged and everyone greatly agreed to the point that to stop incidents like this.
The second film ‘14 and Muslim’ will be broadcasted on February 28 and everyone is invited to watch it regardless of affiliation.
According to the Canadian 2011 National Household Survey, Muslims represented less than 1% of the total population of Newfoundland and Labrador which was estimated at 525,073 persons.