Those of us here at the Multifaith Action Society have been in mourning these last several weeks as we struggle to process the racism and hatred that has devastated our Indigenous and Muslim communities.
Three weeks ago, the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Yet, as elders have been telling us for years, that was sadly only the beginning. Another 104 potential graves were discovered at the Brandon Indian Residential School in Manitoba only a few days ago, and, unfortunately, we know that there are more to come. Previous government leaders did everything in their power to destroy the relationship our Indigenous peoples had with their families, communities, and ancestral lands, and the churches aided them every step of the way.
As people of faith, the settlers among us here in the Multifaith Action Society wish to apologize for our own complicity in the residential school system. Words cannot express how sorry we are for the murder, abuse, and trauma that this inhumane system has inflicted on our Indigenous sisters and brothers. We ask now that our members – and all Canadians – take the time to read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report that lays out how we can all move forward and heal together as one nation, and commit ourselves to the actions listed within it: http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf.
Moreover, as we were yet drying our tears for these lost children, a terrorist attack in London, Ontario left four members of a Muslim family dead and orphaned a young boy. The perpetrator wished to wreak havoc against the Muslim community and make its members believe they could not enjoy the beauty of this country or even take a walk after dinner without having to fear for their safety.
We stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbours against such violence and fear-mongering. We roundly denounce Islamophobia in all its insidious forms and pray for the day in which people from all spiritual traditions might be free from fear and oppression.
As members of the Multifaith Action Society, we believe in the need for more open dialogue, understanding, and friendship between people of all faiths (and all Canadians, for that matter). Children must be taught to embrace human rights, to learn about one another’s beliefs and histories, and to work together in order to create a better future for us all.
Rev. Susan Kerr
Multifaith Action Society