Dear Dr. Campbell,

As I’m sure you understand, I’ve been alarmed by recent events in Canada and the U.S., namely the so-called “Muslim ban” and the tragic shooting in Quebec City. In class, multiple professors have pointed out – with gaunt faces – that events today closely mimic those in Germany leading up to World War II and the Holocaust. I don’t want to be alarmist, but I’m really, really scared.

So, I’ve got to thinking, what can I, and Mount Allison, do to support Muslim people in our community and beyond? I’ve been inspired by the Year of Indigenous Knowing and recognize that it has started many important conversations. I wonder if it could be replicated, but geared towards multiculturalism and religious tolerance in Canada, with special emphasis on Islam. Perhaps call it the Year of Diversity and Acceptance.

This task will not come without challenges. The topic of multiculturalism in our liberal society, especially regarding Islam, is rife with tension and controversy. But these conversations are necessary and must be tackled head-on. I take hope from the fact that this year, we’ve endeavored to engage in the most difficult of topics – our colonial past and present and the decimation of Indigenous knowledge – with bravery and compassion. Here is another opportunity for Mt. A to take tremendous leadership. As a liberal arts institution, it is imperative that we be a leader in these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Mark Findlay Nicol

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