Five members of Algonquin College’s Revolutionary Student Movement participated in joint protest with Ottawa-based social groups on Dec. 13 to fight against Islamophobia.
“Welcome to all immigrants – Workers of all countries unite!” read their banner, which they raised during their march through the downtown area, along Somerset and Lyon Street.
“We’re showing up in support of the Muslim community’s struggle that is taking place,” said Brendan Copegog White, co-founder and chairman of Algonquin’s leftist organization and currently a part-time student in social service working program.
The protest, which was organized by Refugee Welcome Ottawa, attracted more than 250 people from different social groups, including RSM’s members from Algonquin College, uOttawa and Carleton University.
“Right now, there’s been a big boosting in Canada for Islamophobic attacks,” said White. He mentioned the recent burning of a mosque in Peterborough and Muslim immigrants being pepper sprayed in Vancouver.
The entourage marched through the downtown area of Ottawa and gathered at Dundonald Park. There they had their guest speakers preaching about the ongoing hatred towards the Muslim community in forms of verbal and non-verbal aggression.
Canada is also responsible for the refugee crisis in Syria, a country torn apart by “imperialist war,” according to White. The Western countries have a lot to deal with regarding the Syrian people, who were attacked by both the West and Russia, and are having to flee for their lives, he said.
“Let’s face it, before Canada, the U.S. and Russia got involved, it wasn’t as bad,” explained White. “The country (Syria) was a functioning country.”
Nevertheless, White wasn’t sure if we should worry about islamophobia within the AC campus. Since the Islam awareness week in 2014, and a subsequent arrest of an Algonquin student for involving in a terrorist group, the issue has gone silent.
The RSM’s program of action is not concerned with only islamophobia.
They have officially aligned themselves in support of the LGBT community at Algonquin, which is represented by the Queer Student Alliance. They are currently working on a college-wide referendum to challenge what they think as the anti-democratic system the Student Association is using.
“The working class students have working class interest. We’ve seen that the SA as an organization are not able to put our interest forwards,” said White.
A major meeting will also be held at the end of January to gather opinions on what issues the RSM should take on in 2016.
“We want to build it from the bottom up,” said White.