Bomb scare at Concordia University in Montreal

Elections and events south of the border have given rise to increase in the number of hate crimes in our country. Barely three months in, the number of Islamophobic and anti-Semitic incident across the country have us thinking if a similar wave of hate can sweep through Canada as well.

Yesterday, Wednesday March 1, 2017, three buildings and a subway station were evacuated in downtown Montreal after bomb threats targeting Muslim students at the Concordia University.

The threats were emailed by an organization that calls itself the Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada, and were sent to the university as well as several media outlets, mentioned Muslim students, saying that while the aim of the three bombs placed around the campus was to “injure some Moslem (sic) student.”

“Unfortunately, some non-Moslems might be collateral damage,” it read, saying that Friday prayer services on campus were “anti-Jewish” and “anti-Christian.”

While police found no bombs anywhere, the threat has raised concerns about Islamophobia in a province that is still trying to come to grips with the carnage that took place in a mosque in Quebec City a month ago.

Despite the word “Conservative” on their letterhead, the organization has clarified that it is not affiliated with the Conservative Party of Canada. The student’s chapter of CPC at McGill University has also distance itself from the group, noting on its Facebook page that the group was in no way part of the “broader Conservative movement.”

University and student union officials have denounced the incident in strongest terms, expressing their shock at the threats and emphasizing the inclusiveness and openness at Concordia.

Alan Shepard university President condemned the threats in a statement: “We are shocked that such hateful and violent expression of intolerance has targeted our community. There is no room for such threats in our society.

“Concordia is a university that embraces diversity as a key element of who we are. We will support each other and make sure we remain a welcoming, inclusive institution for all students, staff and faculty.” Police were quick to act on neutralizing the threat and arrested one suspect in connection with the incident this morning (Thursday March 2, 2017).

At SHE Canada, we condemn all kinds of religious discrimination. Our country is one that takes pride in openness and inclusivity. It is where we have learnt to live in peace in harmony with everyone, irrespective of race, gender, religion, cast and creed.

Every time such a threat surfaces or attack happens, it is important to remind ourselves that we are all Canadians, and divisive acts like this only strengthen our resolve to become a model for the world to emulate, that peaceful co-existence is possible and Canadians have no time for hate games of any kind.

Banner image: Three university buildings were evacuated Wednesday after a group threatened to detonate “small artisanal explosive devices” once a day until Friday in order to injure Muslim students. (GRAHAM HUGHES / THE CANADIAN)

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