Across the road from my place of work on Industrial Ave. in Langley City, there is the smallest, most inconspicuous building. It looks just like all the other boxy, grey, shuttered buildings in the area. I didn’t even know it was occupied. I worked across from it for two years before finding out it is a masulla! Which usually translates to "prayer hall" smaller than a mosque. (Mosques/musullas in Langley City and Township are not allowed to be built with their traditional minarets). I found this out one Eid al-Fitr (an Islamic celebration which marks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan), when we saw 50 or more Muslims stream out of the building laughing, smiling, and waving. It was a moment that made my co-workers and I take pause. Looking out the big windows of the office, we saw a scene of gentle love, juxtaposed against a harsh, industrial background.
We were pleased to know we had them as neighbours.
We are now enraged. We are enraged because the members of this masulla have become a target of a heinous hate crime instigated by the KKK. The masulla received a letter on September 1st 2021 which reads,
“You have two months to shut this place down and leave or I will go full Brent n Tarrant on you mudslimes, invaders must die! D us vult heil Hitler e1488 - KKK”
I felt truly sick typing out those words, but I wanted you to see exactly what was sent to them.
Brent Tarrant is the name of the man responsible for the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 19th 2019. He killed 51 people, and admitted to the attempted murder of another 40 people (Information from BBC news, here is the link)
Deus vult is, “Latin for “God wills it,” a phrase once used among Crusaders. The phrase was supposedly used in a speech made by Pope Urban II in 1095, in which he implored the First Crusade to take the “Holy Land” back from Muslim rule. As Ishaan Tharoor has written in The Washington Post, the alt-right has taken on iconography of the Crusades in their messaging campaigns. Tharoor writes that the phrase “has become a kind of far-right code word” and is used as a hashtag throughout social media and racist graffiti.” (Information from the Washington Post, here is the link)
1488 is a sticking together of the number 14 and the number 88. 14 refers to the "14 Words” popularised by white supremacist David Lane in 1995, "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children." 88 is a white supremacist numerical code for "Heil Hitler." H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, so 88 = HH = Heil Hitler (information from ADL, a leading anti-hate organization).
I’m sure we are all familiar with what Hail Hitler translates to, and what the Ku Klux Klan is.
Aside from hearing this information on the BBC, I also read it in News 1130, Title: “'We will not be intimidated': Langley Islamic Centre receives racist, threatening letter” by Sonia Aslam, and Global News, “‘You have two months’: Islamic centre in Langley, B.C. receives death threat” by Amy Judd).
In the news article, there is a photo of the letter. Chunky, cut and pasted magazine lettering spewing hate.
I will be contacting the Langley Musalla by phone or e-mail, to ask what we as a community can do to help them in this time of turmoil, fear, and confusion.
If any of you would like to help me show our support for our neighbours, please contact me (Tegan) at email@example.com, or call 236-777-3676. If I do not answer, please leave a message.