Ottawa Muslims call for solidarity with LGBTQ community after Orlando massacre

Local Muslims spoke out against the massacre in Orlando Monday night, saying the targeting of members of the LGBTQ community is not part of their faith.

'It doesn't matter what your choices are ... but I am a fellow Canadian'

The Student Federation of the University of Ottawa held a vigil on Monday night for the victims of the massacre in Orlando. (Steve Fischer)

Local Muslims spoke out against the massacre in Orlando Monday night, saying the targeting of members of the LGBTQ community is not part of their faith.

At a vigil organized by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, all speakers denounced the gunman, a Muslim man who pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Hadi Wess, vice-president of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa, spoke at the vigil. (Steve Fischer)

"I am Muslim and I am an immigrant and the tragedy that we witnessed last weekend has relevant effects on my community," Hadi Wess, a vice-president of the federation who helped organize the rally, told the crowd of about 500 people.

Those effects include the stigma that his is a religion of terror, violence and oppression, he said.

Muslims say they too feel marginalized

Several speakers told the audience of university students and members of the LGBTQ community that they too feel marginalized, and stand in solidarity with them.

"You are my family," said Salma Siddiqui, president of the Coalition of Progressive Canadian Muslim Organizations. 

"It doesn't matter what your choices are — I don't belong to any of your choices — but I am a fellow Canadian. We will watch your back as I want you to watch my back."

One speaker had some harsh words to say about the Muslim community she grew up in.

Ibtehaj Shahid says the Muslims she knows could be doing more to denounce homophobic violence, and that some people in her community "perpetuate transphobia and homophobia in various ways, including by refusing to [place] emphasis upon the creation of safer spaces for queer and trans Muslims."

Organizers said one way Muslims can show their support is by marching in the Capital Pride parade this August.