Secretary at the Kelowna Islamic Centre, Hamid Butt believes that welcoming community members into the Mosque will help break down any stereotypes of preconceived notions of Islam. photo: Sydney Morton

Kelowna Muslim student says deadly New Zealand attacks ‘hits close to home’

The president of the UBCO Muslim association is encouraging others to learn more about each other

After two attacks in New Zealand mosques left 49 people dead, a Kelowna student is encouraging others to connect with the Muslim community to end discrimination.

“I think a lot of us have been distraught including myself… It hits close to home because Friday is a special day for us,” said Sumayia Abedin, president of the Muslim Students’ Association at UBCO.

Jumu’ah is a weekly Friday prayer held just after 12 p.m.

READ MORE: Facebook, other tech companies scramble to remove New Zealand shooting video

“Mosques are not just places of worship, they’re places where study circles happen, events happen. People gather for different types of events. It’s a community base, and weekly a lot of Muslims are gathering on Fridays. For a lot of Muslims, it’s a sanctuary,” Abedin said.

READ MORE: B.C. police step up patrols at mosques after New Zealand shooting massacre

“So to see something like this at a mosque where people are getting killed… it hits close to home for a lot of students. It’s really painful.”

In February, the Kelowna Islamic centre and UBCO Muslim students hosted an Open Mosque Day as part of a B.C. wide event to foster relationships.

Hosting events like Open Mosque Day is a way to end discrimination against Muslims, as a way to show each other how alike we are, she said.

“This attack isn’t coming out of nowhere… it’s a product of a long sustained hateful Islamic messaging,” Abedin said.

If the perpetrators had actually taken time to learn about Muslims, they may have not committed the act, she said.

READ MORE: Quebec City Muslim worshippers condemn fatal New Zealand mosque attacks

As an international and visible Muslim student, Kelowna has been welcoming and accepting, she said. Her message is to stay positive.

“There are people who are concerned, (asking) should we be doing to the mosque today?” she said. “There’s no real fear as of now and I hope it doesn’t have to turn into a real fear.”

It’s time to learn about each other, learn about our neighbours and discover more about each other, she said.

“If you have a Muslim colleague, neighbour, reach out to them… learning about each other and sometimes if you have questions, it’s always better to ask your neighbour.”

“See for yourself, learn for yourself what Islam is about.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: New Zealand mosque shooter brandished white supremacist iconography

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Princeton RCMP out in full force this weekend

Princeton RCMP are determined everyone will have a safe and lawful Victoria… Continue reading

Penticton Indian Band councillor trying for federal seat

Joan Phillip acclaimed as NDP candidate for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Update: Mother dead, youth in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Sandy Point Campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Three RDOS members named to SILGA board

Executives appointed at convention in Penticton earlier this month

Princeton man gets one more month to find lawyer

A young Princeton man was given one more month to find a… Continue reading

Video: Boating season launches at Penticton’s Skaha Marina

Skaha Marina has new owners, a new plan, and a new attitude

Okanagan adventurer continues motorcycle trip around the world

Vernon local James Leigh recently completed the third of five legs of the journey, travelling through China and Kazakhstan

Riders “step up” their game at Coldstream Equestrian Clinic

Riders from across the Okanagan travelled to Coldstream to train for the 2019 55+ Senior Games, which take place in Kelowna this fall.

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Former Greyhound bus drivers gather in the Okanagan for one last hurrah

Bash kicks off Friday in Penticton and runs until Sunday

ICBC urging drivers to slow down this May long weekend

Speed is number one cause of car crash fatalities: ICBC

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read