With fear and anger elevated after anti-Muslim posters were found at the University of Calgary on Tuesday, officials say campus security will be reviewed to ensure students feel safe.
“It’s truly disturbing and makes me personally very angry,” said U of C president Elizabeth Cannon, stressing that the university is checking surveillance video and working closely with police to find those responsible.
“This is something we’ll have to evaluate. We have terrific campus security, our students do feel safe and we take pride in our programs, like safe walk, cameras and just looking out for each other.
“But we do want to analyze this and see if there is more that we can do.”
About 40 posters were discovered by students at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday, filled with hateful and obscene language telling Muslims to “keep your barbaric ways … in your 7th century homeland.”
While campus security acted quickly to take them down, other posters and similar hate literature were also found later in parking lots and in residential mailboxes just outside of campus in northwest communities.
“This is my campus, my community, but part of me feels very scared now,” said Lobna Al-Wadeih, a female Muslim student who wears a hijab.
“With my hijab, I feel like my being Muslim is kind of in your face. And out there, if I’m downtown or something, I will get that, I will get the ‘go home,’ from people.
“But you’ve got to try to have a positive mindset and realize that someone who is an enemy today might be a friend tomorrow.”
U of C officials and Muslim student groups reacted quickly, adamant they are part of a diverse and welcoming campus, and encouraging the creators of the posters to become educated and informed about Islam.
“It’s easy to hate and to be misinformed, because it takes a lot of work to actually be informed,” said Moonis Ahmed, president of the Al-Madiyya Muslim Students Association.
“We’re working hard at U of C to create a positive dialogue, and I would invite anyone, even people who feel such hatred, to reach out and ask us questions so we can have that dialogue with them.”
Umair Tazeem, president of the Muslim Students’ Association, says Tuesday’s discovery of the hateful posters would be especially difficult for students who clearly appear Muslim.
“I don’t wear a scarf, you can’t always tell if I’m a Muslim. But for those that do, this is tougher,” Tazeem said, also welcoming anyone with concerns about Islam to come talk to his association.
“I know there are a lot of bad things happening around the world right now. But that is not a representation of Islam.”