By Sierra Bein
A candlelight vigil took place at Yonge and Dundas Square on Nov. 15 to honour victims of terrorism worldwide
Over the past week, terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Iraq and France left the world in shock and heartbreak. As of this weekend, death tolls in Beirut are at 43, Baghdad, 40 and Paris, 129. ISIS has claimed responsibility for these attacks.
The vigil was organized by Ryerson graduate Hassan Haidar and fourth-year University of Toronto (U of T) student Fatima Chakroun. They wanted to push the idea of anti-terrorism and humanity, rather than focus on only one country’s tragedies.
“It actually started with just being for Beirut because the Paris [attacks] hadn’t happened yet when we came up with it,” said Chakroun. “But literally the day after we planned, it happened, and we were like, ‘There’s no way that we can not include Paris.’
“We don’t want to make division based on race, religion, ethnicity — like, that’s crazy.”
Haidar read out some of the names belonging to those who died in the attacks. The vigil also included a spoken word performance, followed by a moment of silence and prayers.
Ryerson sent out a press release this week stating that their thoughts are with the victims and families in France who suffered.
“Our thoughts are also with the many members of the Ryerson community,” read the release. “Including visiting French students and faculty, who have family, friends and professional colleagues in France.”
The university confirmed that all Ryerson community members in France are safe.
Haidar brought attention to the refugees who are escaping this senseless violence from their homelands, saying that they are now among the most vulnerable.
“I’ve seen a lot of attacks on refugees in the last three, four days in the aftermath,” Haidar said. “We have to be able to condemn that and be able to tell them that a city like Toronto and a country like Canada will always have its door open to those who need our help.”
After last week’s attacks, a refugee camp in France and a mosque in Peterborough were set on fire. In Australia, a woman in a hijab was pushed in front of a train.