Letter to the UBC Community

Islamophobia, racism, hate, and discrimination are not tolerated here

We’d Like to Hear From You!

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The Canadian Medical Association recently published, and subsequently retracted, a letter to the editor entitled – “Don’t use an instrument of oppression as a symbol of diversity and inclusion”. The letter identified the hijab as a symbol of oppression, invoking harmful Islamophobic stereotypes and tropes. The letter has distressed many members of our community.

We recognize that the debate around the Muslim veil is complex and nuanced and suggest that participation in this debate requires a deep understanding of the differentiated experiences of Muslim women and their different historical, social, cultural and political backgrounds. While individual views on the imagery and significance of the hijab may differ we can all agree that Islamophobic hate, racism, and discrimination is a reality in our community and in Canada. It is not only harmful to the targets of such actions, but also to our entire community.

We, along with and on behalf of, faculty, staff and learners in the UBC Faculty of Medicine strongly denounce Islamophobia, hatred, racism, and discrimination and the consequent harms visited upon Muslim members of our community. We renew our commitment to hold ourselves and this institution accountable to change our culture by creating learning and work environments that are diverse and inclusive, that support the exercise of human rights, and that value the contribution and participation of all members of our community.

We reiterate our commitment to act in solidarity with all racialized, marginalized, and underrepresented members of our Faculty to demonstrate in words and actions that we value them, their experiences, and their contributions to the Faculty.

We commit to reviewing the various anti-racism and anti-oppression initiatives we are implementing across the Faculty through our Transforming Culture Initiative to ensure they include specific actions to address Islamophobia. We invite the participation of all members of our community to support our efforts to ensure we bring an explicit Muslim perspective to the anti-racism and anti-oppression initiatives that will help change our culture.

Connect With Us

We encourage individuals to reach out to Dr. Neila Miled, Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Advisor, Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion to discuss concerns or suggestions for action. Dr. Miled is a Muslim woman and scholar well acquainted with and knowledgeable about Islamophobia. You can email her at anti-racism.advisor@ubc.ca. Learn more about Dr. Miled here

You can also contact the Office of Respectful Environments, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at redi.office@ubc.ca