On June 5, 2021 the Muslim Students’ Association at Western University in London, ON issued the following statement:
WESTERN MSA OFFICIAL STATEMENT: FREE PALESTINE
(3) For Western University to cut off any professional or financial ties to any individuals or companies or organizations that fund or support Israeli Defense Forces, or are situated on occupied Palestinian land. Supporting Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in any way means supporting genocide.
We would also like to add that the Western Muslim Students’ Association does not support antisemitism or Islamophobia in any way, shape, or form. We are saddened to see a slew of accusations of antisemitism towards pro-Palestine views. Showing any support or empathy to the Palestinian cause is not an attack on Judaism, and we do not condone the actions and words of anyone that thinks otherwise. Supporting the use of antisemitism towards anyone that is standing up to the anti-genocide, anti-apartheid, and anti-eviction of Palestinians takes away from the movement and insinuates that violence and ill-treatment of Palestinians is part of Jewish identity, which is false and inherently antisemitic. That being said, displays of swastikas and ‘death to the Jews’ slogans are completely unacceptable, repugnant, and are not representative of our Islamic values, or of Palestinians and their emphasizers alike.
According to the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” and acts representing genocide include killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to said group, and causing physical destruction or decreased quality of life. Israel is also an Apartheid state according to the United Nations’ International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. Article II of this convention states that Apartheid is “establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.” This can be done through denying the racial group right to life and liberty, murdering the racial group, and inflicting serious bodily or mental harm on the group. In addition, Israel broke several dozen UN resolutions. To put it simply, this is not a conflict; Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians and it is an Apartheid state.
(2) For the University Student Council to remove all pro-Zionist narrative from campus. Zionism is known to promote the displacement of Palestinians from their land. Despite the many definitions of Zionism there may be, we need to be careful on what we allow clubs to say and support as the USC is committed to providing an environment free of harassment towards everyone, which always trumps any club’s right to free speech. Pro-Zionist narratives contribute to a “poisoned environment” which is defined in article 2.04 on page 249 of the policy manual provided by the University Student Council as “an environment in which harassing or discriminatory behaviours are sufficiently severe and/or pervasive and cause such significant and unreasonable interference in a person’s campus community environment that may be deemed to be creating an intimidating, hostile, and offensive campus community environment.” 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, which is absolutely unacceptable.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY HAPPENING?
For the past few months, the world watched in horror as unspeakable and inhumane crimes were committed against Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The Israeli government has displaced thousands of Palestinians, destroyed their homes, and murdered hundreds of innocent people and children. According to the Pales[tine] Centre For Human Rights, in this past week, two Palestinians died due to wounds sustained by attacks from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza and Ramallah, 16 were injured in the West Bank (four of whom were children), 125 were unjustly arrested in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem (12 of whom were children), one cancer patient died due to the travel ban restrictions enforced by the IDF, and 39 temporary military checkpoints were established by the IDF, which resulted in the arrest of two Palestinians.
Western University is home to many Palestinian refugees who are victims of traumatic events. We extend an invitation to those victims and their relatives to seek safety and support in Western’s Muslim Students’ Association. May Allah open people’s hearts to give in this time of crisis and guide our hands to just action. May Allah help and protect the people of Palestine and may He ease their pain and suffering. Upon Allah we rely on as He is the most Merciful and Just.
WE DEMAND ACTION FROM WESTERN UNIVERSITY AND THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT COUNCIL
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. Our university has been complicit and change is long overdue. The following is a list of demands for President Alan Shepard and the University Student Council:
(1) A statement from Alan Shepard and the University Student Council condemning the eviction, genocide, and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This is important to show Palestinian students that they are safe here and their own school does not support the genocide of their people. This is not the time to be neutral; action must be taken.
- President: Hannan Ullah (On October 5, 2020 the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) announced Hannan Ullah as the “NCCM liaison representing Western University”)
- Executive Vice-President: Ma’az Syed
- VP Finance: Areej Ansari
- VP Communications: Amina Ali
- VP Internal Affairs: Arham Ansari
- VP Public Relations: Nader Elshawish
- VP Charity: Nourhan Ali
- VP Brothers’: Faris Khan
- VP Sisters’: Hamaila Shahid
- CRO: Tarannum Khan
Excerpts from the constitution of the Muslim Students’ Association at Western University
4. 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.
5. The general belief system under which the MSA runs as an organization is:
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. 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…
Article 2 – Objectives and Aims
Part 1: The MSA
1. Shall aim to organize and unite Muslims at Western University, Canada.
2. Shall promote the teachings and practices of Islam to the members of the organization, fellow students, and members of the university community.
3. Shall represent MSA members in various forums at Western University, Muslim organizations in London, the City of London, and at conferences and other functions to the outside community.
4. Shall promote awareness of Islam as a complete way of life to individuals and groups…
Executives shall be responsible for their individual duties to Allah, the Most Gracious, as defined by Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.