Vandals disrespect place of worship

Last Tuesday, on 15th March, a trio of Islamophobes have attempted to desecrate Masjid-an-Noor, a mosque (Islamic place of worship) in St. John’s, by collecting trash from a garbage dump and launching them as projectiles against the walls.

The head of the N.L. Muslim Association, Syed Mansoor Pirzada, informed that an eyewitness at the incident had been severely frightened by the oncoming noise. The sounds startled him after completing his prayers and certainly this is not difficult to understand why such a minor disturbance can generate shock of such caliber.

Trauma from previous, more deadly incidents at Quebec have been engraved in the minds of Muslim citizens for years. Thus, even the slightest breeze of violence is enough to distort the waves of the ocean we call peace.

Indeed, the event is worthy of attention from government authorities across Canada since people of the Islamic faith always try to exercise caution against haters and intolerant anti-Islamic extremists. A large portion of Memorial University’s students (especially international students) are practicing Muslims, and if their place of worship is not as safe a sanctuary as they think, then it will truly be treated as an offence from Canadian society.

Imagine being oppressed for simply travelling to a house of God. Imagine being in the shoes of a Muslim, feeling depressed on a particular day, so you decide to rejuvenate yourself via prayer. And then, all of a sudden, you face violence and threats.

Although last Tuesday’s act of vandalism was not a serious one, it does hint that in the future, there might be more devastating assaults. Metaphorically, the entire dam may not have collapsed, but it has been guaranteed that there are cracks. And that all Muslims should be careful where they stand.

On the bright side, this incident may mark an opportunity for increasing awareness about the hardships wrongly faced by innocent Muslims every day. Just as people of every race and gender have the right to live in peace in St. John’s, so do those of different faiths and religious beliefs.

Video footage from the CCTV in front of the mosque had revealed two men and one woman guilty of the illicit activity. They had the intentions of entering the mosque and perhaps even physically harming any people currently inside, but luckily, they failed and instead vented their anger by throwing eggs and garbage items at a window.

Not having inflicted much damage, they soon fled the scene via Portugal Cove Road.

In a world of mistakes and misunderstandings, there are certain people who simply like to hang on to their own interpretations and beliefs about what’s right and wrong. This is how various forms of prejudice (including religious) and intolerance arise. Unless their actions are publicly visible, no one can really know what grudge someone may have raging in the depths of their mind. Likewise, a majority of non-Muslim people associate Muslims with the worse examples they can find, resulting in a bad image of Islam.

In a nutshell, sadly for the followers of Islam, the fact has once again been proven: Islamophobia is on the rise.

Syed Mansoor Pirzada himself faces insults and slurs within the province, he states. As a solution to this dilemma, he suggests that the government needs to launch hate crime legislation in action. “Without the law, without any concrete punishment, you cannot root it out,” he comments.

As for the current Muslim students present on campus and in St. John’s right now, the Muslim Student Association of MUN (MSA MUN) exists to provide any and all kinds of support they need. However, all fellow Muslim students have been advised to stay high on alert while in public until this issue is both socially and legally resolved.