A Turbah Box was found damaged on Friday in the Bahen prayer room in the University of Toronto downtown campus with a hate note left instead, as reported by the Muslim Students’ Association.
Turbah is a clay stone used among Shia Muslims to keep the surface of their prayer natural. The MSA released a statement on their Facebook page on Saturday saying, “This is an explicit act of hate towards Shia Muslims. As an organization that represents all Muslim students on campus, we believe this horrendous act is despicable and has no place in our community.”
Referring to it as an “Anti-Shi’ism” act, which means hatred toward the Shias who represent a minority sect of Muslims, the MSA president Ammar ElAmir told The Medium that the association believes another Muslim, who is not part of the minority sector of Shia Muslims, was responsible for the hate incident.
“We also strongly condemn this act of hatred and recognize the need to provide a safer space on campus for all Muslim students. Anti-Shi’ism is a very real and prominent issue that we will address in collaboration with all other Muslim groups on campus,” he said. “We want to make sure that the perpetrators and anyone else who holds this prejudice realize that this behaviour is not and never will be acceptable.”
The MSA, in collaboration with the Thaqalayan Muslim Association at U of T, will be launching poster campaigns around the Multi-Faith spaces at the downtown campus. They will also contact “Khateebs (preachers) and Imams to address the prejudice and hatred in their Friday sermons on campus.”
As of press time, the investigation of the vandalism is undergoing and the MSA is waiting upon a response from U of T’s Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office.