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Justin Quaintance

Graphic anti-Muslim posters found on University of Calgary campus

By Scott Strasser, October 4 2016 —

University of Calgary campus security officials are investigating after several anti-Muslim posters were found at the U of C main campus on Oct. 4.


Muslim Students’ Association president Umair Tazeem speaks to media. Photo by Justin Quaintance.

A student found the first poster in the early morning and notified campus security. Following that, security officers managed to track down about 40 posters throughout the campus.

The posters depicted a burning Quran and several obscene messages telling Muslims to “go back where they came from.”

U of C president Elizabeth Cannon said the posters “in no way reflect the inclusive culture of this university.”

“The University of Calgary is committed to creating a safe and respectful campus for all students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Cannon said. “I think we were all very shocked today, when some posters were found on our campus. We’re a very diverse, inclusive and respectful campus. To see something like this is truly disturbing and makes me personally angry.”

The U of C reached out to various Muslim student groups following the incident.

“It’s definitely sad to see, but I’m glad to see the steps that have been taken so far on campus,”  Muslim Students’ Association president Umair Tazeem said. “I think our campus security has done a great job in dealing with it. Not too many students were even able to come across these — campus security was able to track them down.”

Campus Security officials are now working with Calgary Police Services to investigate who might have posted the posters.

Cannon declined to comment on the specifics of where the posters were found or if they were located in areas with closed circuit television cameras.

However, Tazeem said no posters were found near the U of C’s designated prayer spaces — the Vitruvian Space near the residence Dining Centre or the multi-faith prayer rooms on the third floor of MacHall.

“They were only found in random places throughout the campus,” he said.

Tazeem also said some posters were found off campus. Some were reported found in Hillhurst.


Members of the Students’ Union write messages to students. Photo by Justin Quaintance

The U of C’s Faith & Spirituality Centre manager Adriana Tulissi said the centre is deeply saddened to hear about the incident.

“We strive to provide a braver space on campus and to foster and build awareness, understanding and active pluralism,” she said.

Tulissi mentioned how the Faith & Spirituality Centre recently launched an Interreligious Student Alliance, composed of representatives from various faith-based student clubs.

U of C administration, faculty and students gathered in front of MacHall at noon following the announcement.

“We wanted to gather anyone who was interested and could come together in solidarity and support the campus community and to build that inclusive campus,” Tulissi said.

In response to the incident, the Faith & Spirituality Centre handed out hearts for students to write compliments in and give to another student. The centre also set up a whiteboard in front of MacHall for students to write positive messages on.

“We just wanted to be present, to acknowledge that we don’t tolerate this and we will move towards solidarity and support,” Tulissi said.

A similar incident occurred at the University of Alberta last month, where around a dozen posters targeting turban-wearing Sikhs were found throughout the campus.


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