#RememberJan29 my strongest memories of January 29, when 6 Muslim men were shot in the back by a white shooter in Quebec, revolve around the horror of the murders and of reactions. First, that people were attacked during prayer, in a time of defenselessness and that their families would be shattered. Intense shame wells up as I remember the Islamophobia of responses I heard from my community. I was shocked by reactions I heard that blamed Islam and the men who were killed, by the most backward of logic. I was shocked when I heard statements without sympathy, ‘the news is saying the shooter is Muslim!’ with much head shaking, and somehow, blame for the victims. And then, the horror of hearing ‘see how scared and crazy all this terrorism is making people, that it made him [the shooter] so angry to do this.’ I was shocked and livid and jolted into a reality check of how deep and contorted Islamophobia runs in some people. I remember crying as I repeated ‘they were shot in the back! They did nothing wrong. You are justifying the shooting and blaming the victims. I can’t believe you are saying this right now.’ this is how deep Islamophobia runs. there is so much work to be done. Today I mourn smiling faces I know through media and art memorializing those who were slain while I struggle with the pain of looking inward and at the hatred spoken by members of my community.

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