“Push Back the Darkness” launched to mark
second anniversary of Quebec massacre
Campaign will officially launch on Parliament Hill
(Ottawa, January 28, 2019) Senators and Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum are supporting an initiative called Push Back the Darkness to mark the second anniversary of the Quebec City massacre.
The supporting MPs include Jennifer O’Connell, Salma Zahid, Joel Lightbound, Gagan Sikand, Iqra Khalid, Omar Alghabra, and Sven Spengemann; The supporting Senators include Salma Ataullahjan, Frances Lankin, and Mobina Jaffer. MP Jennifer O’Connell will be making a statement of support in Parliament on January 29, 2019 to mark the initiative, and Senators Salma Ataullahjan and Mobina Jaffer will be releasing statements of support on the same day.
The campaign’s founder, Ryan Slobojan, initiated the effort as a way to encourage all Canadians to reflect on the ignorance and hate that led to the horrific terrorist attack upon the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre on January 29th 2017 and to stand up to such attitudes in our communities.
“It's important to see Parliamentarians and Senators supporting this effort, because their role as our federal representatives helps them to guide the actions of others across Canada. By committing to push back the darkness of ignorance and hate with the light of knowledge and friendship, they are helping to ensure that Canada remains the shared, diverse, and welcoming place which we all want it to be,” said Slobojan.
The campaign is supported by almost a dozen community and religious organizations around the country. Vigils and events will be happening in various cities. People are encouraged to place a light in their window at 8 p.m. on the evening of January 29th as a way to show their commitment to pushing back against the darkness of ignorance and hate with the light of knowledge and friendship in their community.
“Ryan’s initiative is truly heartwarming and so welcome in a time of seemingly growing hate and fear,” said Amira Elghawaby, a human rights advocate and board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network. “This is a moment where we must all come together and find ways to heal from the pain of that terrible attack. Our hearts continue to mourn for the families that were shattered. In honour of those who were killed and injured, we must work with all levels of governments and institutions to ensure our communities are safe for everyone. Push Back the Darkness is a simple way to remember, as well as to commit to the work we all need to do to combat xenophobia and Islamophobia.”
“When the mosque attack happened two years ago, I knew that I had to do something, take some action to support my Muslim neighbours who had been targeted,” said Slobojan. “I took my five year old daughter and we went to the local mosque in Pickering the very next day where we gave out free hugs. Many people told us how grateful they were to see us and how much it had brightened their day (some with tears in their eyes), and I began to understand how much stronger the fear and panic would have been for me if I had myself been a member of the group targeted in the Quebec City shootings.”
Related Toronto Star commentary: What you can do to combat hate in your community
Website: PushBackTheDarkness.ca
Ryan Slobojan
email: push.back.the.darkness.initiative@gmail.com
phone: (647) 213-6563
Amira Elghawaby
email: amiraelghawaby@gmail.com