SHAFAQNA- A group of Muslim women in Toronto handed out a thousand roses in Nathan Phillips Square on Sunday as a thank you for the support Torontonians have shown since the Paris attacks, each bearing a note saying: “From a Muslim who loves and cares for all of humanity.”
Organizer Dr. Yusra Ahmad said the recent spate of terrorist attacks that culminated in Paris, and the local fallout involving violent acts against women in Toronto, motivated the initiative.
It also coincided with the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, on the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre of 14 women at the École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989.
“It’s time for us to reconnect with our deepest selves and intentionally cultivate more respect, kindness and compassion — one rose at a time,” said Ahmad, a psychiatrist who sees the impact violence and Islamophobia have on women.
She said the rising virulence of the rhetoric against Muslims has flooded her with sadness, grief, alienation and fear.
“Really, what we urgently need now is precisely the opposite,” she said. “We need more human connection, compassion, kindness and love.”
Ahmad said the red flowers carry an overarching theme of intimacy and kindness, and that 1,000 roses are 1,000 opportunities to honour the human capacity for connection and resilience.