Office of the President
Stevenson Hall, Suite 2107
London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B8
Dear Professor Alan Shepard, President and Vice-Chancellor, Western University,
We are writing with concern about a statement given by the Muslim Students’ Association at Western University. We believe that rather than creating unity and a safe environment for all students, this statement is divisive.
On June 5, 2021 the Muslim Students’ Association at Western University in London, ON issued a statement concerning the Palestine/Israel conflict.
The MSA is also demanding a statement from yourself, that you condemn the situation in Palestine. This demand, in essence, is calling for you to denounce the state of Israel. Although Israel has the legal and historical right to this land, that is not the point here. The point is the division being created by this organization.
Rather than creating understanding and peace, what is being created is an atmosphere of hostility and anger.
The Israel/Palestine conflict is not new, and there seems to be no clear solution at the moment. However, this should not carry over into a Western institution of learning by engaging university leadership.
We ask that you address this with the MSA, and in doing so, defuse this situation, perhaps with workshops and other methods to engage both sides of this conflict.
Following are some of the phrases within the statement released by the MSA:
Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians and it is an Apartheid state.
University Student Council to remove all pro-Zionist narrative from campus
Pro-Zionist narratives contribute to a “poisoned environment”
We demand that Western University and the University Student Council take action.
Pro-Zionist narratives are harmful to Palestinian students as it fails to recognize the trauma they endured and is dismissive of the impact Zionism has had on their lives. The University Student Council needs to be taking more serious action towards pro-Zionist narrative as allowing any Western-affiliated organizations to support Zionism is an example of harassing and discriminatory behaviour towards Palestinian students.
Western’s Muslim Students’ Association unequivocally stands in solidarity with all the victims of mass genocide, incarceration, and eviction in Palestine. We condemn the actions of the Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli government against Palestine, and we demand that Western University and the University Student Council take action.
They also demand: A statement from Alan Shepard and the University Student Council condemning the eviction, genocide, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
Some excerpts from the MSA constitution:
- The mission statement of the MSA is as follows:
To provide an Islamic environment conducive to creativity, leadership, excellence and professionalism in order to empower students to reach their potential: physically, emotionally, socially, mentally and spiritually.
- The general belief system under which the MSA runs as an organization is:
- There exists only one God: Allah, the most Gracious and Almighty, who is the true creator and sustainer of the universe, and that Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is the last Prophet and Messenger of Allah to humanity.
- The salvation of all human problems is only possible through the total implementation of His guidance, which is found in the Holy Qur’an and the prophetic teachings and traditions.
- The life and teachings of his servant and messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, is the ideal example for all humanity. The Prophet’s companions are the best people after the messengers of Allah, and they are to be respected for conveying the message of Islam to us…
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Together, we can work to eradicate hate in our country.
Fighting Hate In Canada