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UPDATED: Concordia community responds to bomb threat

The CSU offers support to students, administration yet to update about any building closures on March 2 and 3

After a bomb threat against Muslim members of the Concordia community caused building evacuations at the downtown campus, the Concordia Student Union (CSU) and students are standing in solidarity and offering their support.

SPVM spotted inside the Hall building. Photo by Ana Hernandez

Since publication of this article, a 47-year-old man has been arrested on the early morning of March 2 in connection to bomb threats imposed on Concordia campus, according to the Montréal Gazette.

The bomb threat was made by the “Concordia chapter” of the Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada (C4) in a statement released on the morning of March 1 to various student groups and media outlets—including CJLO 1690AM, Concordia’s community radio station.

In the press release, C4 stated “between March 1st at noon and March 3rd at 2 pm, [they] will DETONATE once per day small artisanal amateur explosive devices that [they] planted on two floors of the Hall bldg and one floor of the EV bldg.”

Following an evacuation of the GM, EV and Hall buildings and an SPVM search of the targeted buildings—the SPVM tweeted “the premises are secured.”

Concordia President Alan Shepard announced in a written statement Wednesday afternoon that students and faculty would be allowed to return to class as of 6 p.m. Shepard thanked community members for their patience.

In reaction to the events, the CSU’s executive team released a statement, in which they called the threat an act of terror, and reminded students that the white supremacist rhetoric we presume is only south of the border is a reality in Canada too.

The CSU executive team assured the Muslim community that they will continue advocating for their right to pray on campus. “We are currently coordinating with all relevant parties at Concordia University to ensure every student’s access and safety, and with the SPVM in their investigation,” the executive team said in their official statement.

The CSU reminded Muslim community members targeted by this type of hatred to seek support from the CSU Advocacy Centre—which provides aid for students facing discrimination and violence—or the CSU Legal Information Clinic, which offers students legal information and referrals.

The Centre for Gender Advocacy and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) were mentioned by the CSU as other services students seeking aid could reach out to.

In their statement, the CSU called on the university’s administration to cancel classes for the remainder of the week, since the C4’s threat specified that attacks would take place on March 1, 2 and 3. The CSU said they want to ensure the safety of Muslim students, staff and faculty.

Despite the fact that classes at Concordia resumed on Wednesday evening, Assistant to the Dean Lauren Broad sent out an email stating the Concordia Council of Student of Student Life (CCSL) meeting planned for March 3 would be moved from the SGW campus to the Loyola campus.

Students and other Concordia community members linger outside EV building. Photo by Ana Hernandez

In the email, Broad said the meeting was moved to “ensure full participation” since “some people may feel nervous about the statements in the media regarding the rest of the week.”

A petition has been created in support of ensuring the safety of students, particularly Muslim students at Concordia. The petition calls for Concordia to provide academic amnesty for students who request it––in other words, students would not be penalized for missing exams, labs, tests, quizzes or any evaluation that may take place between now and March 3.

As stated on the petition page, “this petition does not call for a cancellation of all classes, but for a guarantee from Concordia that students feeling unsafe will not be penalized for missing class.”

In addition to the support system offered by the CSU, other students have offered solidarity and a lighthearted approach to the recent events.

Concordia student Farhan Chöwdhury created a Facebook event, “Fight Against Flipflophobia,” with his sister Tahrim, to encourage students to wear flip flops on March 2. This unusual show of solidarity is in response to C4’s criticism of Muslim men wearing flip flops as they walked from the bathroom to the prayer room in the Hall building.

“We decided to be lighthearted about it because reading the thing made it seem silly. Now the bomb threat is serious—but the anti-Muslim bit there was a joke. It should be ridiculous that people are offended by others wearing flip flops and that’s what we want to get across,” said Farhan, who said he’s grown accustomed to anti-Muslim sentiments, and finds it ridiculous to fathom that C4 would make a bomb threat over Muslim men in flip flops.

The Concordian reached out to the university to ask whether there would be building closures on March 2 and 3, but they did not respond before this article’s deadline. However, according to the CBC, Concordia will be increasing patrols of its private security officers, and Montreal police will be present outside campus for the rest of the week.

About Savanna Craig

  • charley patton

    someone designed a bomb that only kills muslims?

  • IvEllis

    It’s too early to know what motivated Hisham Saadi… false flag propaganda, personal or educational problems, etc. (Or, indeed, if it was all his work.) But it would be nice if the wave of support for Muslim students would also extend to people who seem to have been thrown “under the bus” in the rush to condemn hate and racism. The new Trumpian climate of anti-immigrant rhetoric should not be used to “wash” the strident anti-gay and misogynist sermons that emanate from some local religious locales. My lab partner has received numerous hate messages including one physical threat since she decided to remove her hijab (she considers it a symbol of female oppression) and she knows that they did not emanate from “islamophobic” sources. She and other free-thinking ex-Muslims should be getting the same sort of support from us as we rightfully offer immigrants, refugees, Muslim students and, indeed, peaceful members of any religion or non-religion.

    P.S. Readers of The Concordian might be interested to know that when I posted a similar response on The McGill Daily (The Link has long since eliminated comments), it was quickly removed. It seems that the arrest of Mr. Saadi didn’t square with their message and any dissent to their editorial line, however mild, is immediately censored.