Two disturbing incidents target SFU prayer areas during Ramadan

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Two separate incidents at SFU’s Burnaby and Surrey campuses at the end of the holy month of Ramadan have some students concerned for their safety.

Both incidents happened on June 3rd, just one day before Eid. At the Surrey campus, a man was seen urinating on the floor where students pray, according to the university’s Muslim Student Association.

Ahmed Khan is president of the MSA and says one of the group’s executives witnessed what happened.

“She heard some kind of liquid being dropped onto the floor and she assumed it was water and so she went into the prayer area and saw the back of a man and she could just see there was liquid being dropped. She came to the conclusion that it wasn’t water and it was, in fact, there was a man there who was urinating,” he tells NEWS 1130.

“She got scared and she ran into the women’s section of the prayer area. She hid there for a bit because she was terrified and then the man eventually finished urinating and he started swearing. I believe he said the F word and he said ‘F all of the Muslims.'”

The woman left and reported it to security, which is increasing patrols moving forward. Khan adds that woman doesn’t want to return to the designated area to pray.

“She is terrified of that area and she does not feel comfortable at all going to pray there. She has told me that she’s just trying to avoid that area, but she was of the mindset that she is going to avoid it forever.”

He says this isn’t the first time they have felt targeted. “We do sometimes occasionally see homeless people sleeping in there which really makes you a bit uncomfortable as to, ‘Is the area really clean?’ and ‘This is supposed to be our prayer area.’ And occasionally we have our prayer mats stolen as well.”

Khan says they reported the incident to the local Islamophobia Hotline.

The MSA does not know why the man was in the prayer area at the Surrey Central location and now they’re working on a solution with SFU to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“At our Surrey campus, we recently launched our new building just across the street and we’re in talks with SFU — they said that they’re most likely going to give us a space in that new building. Not just for the Muslims, just a proper inter-faith centre because the Surrey campus doesn’t have a proper one.”

The incident at the main Burnaby campus happened on the same day and involved the charity box being vandalized. There is no indication the two incidents are related.

RCMP in Surrey and Burnaby are aware of both cases.

The local Islamophobia Hotline is 604.343.3828.

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