no, i’m not surprised — Muslim family killed in london, ontario

Omar Taleb
3 min readJun 9, 2021


I got a DM from a social media friend of mine, @priyaleigh, who asked if I had seen the video of the remarks at a vigil for the Muslim family killed in a domestic terror attack in London, Ontario.

I haven’t seen the video. Up until I sat down to write this, I had not read the articles, looked at the tweets, or watched the sound bites that have been circulating in the past 36 hours.

“Numb” may not be the right word to describe what a lot of Muslim people feel right now. Numbness implies a lack of pain, and there has been too much pain to ignore — to suffer through.“Surprised” definitely isn’t the word either. What exactly are we surprised about? Canada is not some idyllic post-racial maple syrup-filled utopia where visible Muslims can take a family walk without fear of losing their lives. Racism rears its ugly head in Canada on a daily basis. Sometimes, racism takes the form of a 20-year-old “nice guy” holding a fish to the camera.

Just as we ease the tension on our Brown shoulders, the horror of an attack such as this pushes us back up against the red-and-white wall, unable to breathe easy.

I wonder if politicians have a folder in their Google Drive where they store a template for statements of “support” and “solidarity.” I pity the intern who has to pull it out every few weeks. Maybe they don’t need a folder, maybe they just copy and paste from the last “incident,” and the “incident” before that.

Racially motivated attacks against Muslim immigrants? Vigils and gatherings of support? Tweets flying out of Ottawa in response? I've seen this movie before — almost as often as I’ve seen the movie with the dirty Brown terrorists.

I’m not surprised by what happened. I am surprised, however, at Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole “stand[ing] in solidarity with the Muslim community” after opposing Motion 103, a federal motion to condemn Islamophobia following a terror attack in 2017, where six people were killed outside the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City.

I’m surprised at the Toronto Sun, which published an “editorial” titled “The horrible effects of religious hatred.” This is the same newspaper that claimed that the “apologist left” pretends to have a better “understanding of the roots of Muslim indulgence in terrorism.”

I guess they had to say something. Even the New York Post ran a headline saying the family was targeted over their faith.

The sole survivor of this attack is a nine-year-old boy. This child has been made an orphan in a country that advertises to immigrants through the promise of a better life.

How can we expect a child, or anyone for that matter, to have the strength to come out of this tragedy. As this horrifying movie plays out, as the media and the politicians hit their talking points, I want them to think about him sitting alone.

It might be too much to ask of the Great White North.