Peace and blessing be upon you, Allah says: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives.”- Qur’an 4:135
The Carleton University Muslim Students’ Association recognizes that the lands on which we live, work, study, and worship belong to the Algonquin nation. These territories, comprising the Kichi Sibi (Ottawa River) watershed, and including all of Canada’s national capital region, were never surrendered or ceded by the Algonquin nation.
This is a reality inherent in the Indigenous legal system of the Algonquin nation, but it is also recognized in Canadian common law, as laid out in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and the Constitution Act of 1982. Systems of colonization were utilized to fraudulently acquire this land and exploit its resources. Much of its privileges and opportunities available to us, as non-Algonquin people living in Ottawa are a result of this ongoing and grave injustice. While we continue to benefit from this oppression, there are Algonquin communities not far from Ottawa which are still without clean drinking water and adequate housing, and where families live in dire poverty. It is our priority as Muslims living in Ottawa that justice be done for the nation on whose lands we reside.
As Muslims, we are not innocent in the act of colonization, by simply residing on these lands we are all active in the existence of the settler state. The only way to acknowledge and fix this, is through fully supporting Indigenous self determination. Our wise Muslim forebears never shied away from addressing injustices done to the oppressed and marginalized. Justice is a central tenet of Islam; the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said: “Guard yourself from committing oppression, for oppression will be darkness on the Day of Resurrection“. (Sahih Muslim 2578, Book 45, Hadith 74). He also said: “He who sleeps on a full stomach whilst his neighbour goes hungry is not one of us“. (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 112, Book 6, Hadith 12).
We as Muslim students living in Ottawa commit to make this acknowledgement a reality not only in our words, but in our deeds. We resolve to work with our time, skills, and resources in solidarity with the Algonquin nation. We ask God to let justice be done for those in situations of injustice.