Members of the Muslim Students Association walkout in support of those killed and injured in Palestine.
On Friday, November 3, approximately 100 USask students participated in a walkout organized by the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in support of the Palestinian people, particularly Palestinian children, who have been impacted by the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine.
The group, which included MSA members and others who wanted to show their support, convened at the Education Building, where they met for Jummah prayer before setting out. As they made their way across the campus, the students called out: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
Abdirahman Ali, a former president of the MSA, and currently the Imam of the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan-Saskatoon, led the prayer and participated in the walkout. Ali said the atrocities that have occurred during the conflict are “horrific,” and that he attended the walkout to show his solidarity and support for the Muslim community on campus, of which he has been a member.
Ali said that the goal of the walkout was to raise awareness for the issue. He feels that this is an important subject for people – university students in particular – to be aware of, because once people are educated about the topic they can take the appropriate action to address it.
Another attendee of the protest, Ammara Syeda, is a USask and Sheaf alumna. Syeda shared that she has felt anger give way to disappointment as the tragedy continues to unfold.
Syeda hopes that the walkout will show that there are people here in Saskatchewan who care about and are impacted by these events occurring thousands of miles away. She agrees with Ali about the importance of raising awareness, which she said can also be done by writing letters to MPs and boycotting certain products.
She also wants people to educate themselves, and encourages university students to “speak out about this in their classes.”
“Any student that’s going to USask right now has an opportunity to learn and educate [themselves] about this topic and about what’s going on in the world right now, so they should do that,” Syeda said.
“At the end of the day, the purpose of education is to make you a better human being, and for you to contribute positively to the society,” Ali said. “If we want to be the university that the world needs, we cannot be silent when a potential genocide is happening right in front of our eyes.”
The MSA are currently planning more action in support of those affected in Palestine. At other protests in Saskatoon in recent weeks, hundreds have gathered in solidarity with Palestine. The mayor of Saskatoon, Charlie Clark, called for a humanitarian ceasefire in a recent social media post, describing the situation as “unbearable.”
The Sheaf stands with all the civilians who are caught in the crossfire of this conflict and everyone who is affected by it.
For any of our readers who are interested in learning more, we encourage you to check out these sources for updates about the conflict and how people are affected by it in Canada: CBC News, CTV News and the Globe and Mail.
USask students who are interested in getting involved and learning more about the issue can get in touch with local organizations for support. Other organizations you can support or donate to help those affected include:
Islamic Relief Worldwide
Canadian Red Cross
United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)