BSN Statement Regarding Lawsuit Against a McGill Student and Professor
On July 5th, 2018, the CBC broke the news that a professor from McGill’s Institute of Islamic Studies, Ahmed Fakry Ibrahim, filed a $600 000 defamation lawsuit against two individuals: a student and a professor from the Institute. The lawsuit claims that these individuals launched a “smear campaign” to have him dismissed by circulating allegations of sexually predatory behaviour by Ibrahim towards students.
The Black Student’s Network of McGill (BSN) would like to formally express its support to both individuals persecuted by Ibrahim. It is obvious that the lawsuit filed against them is a desperate attempt to coercively silence a student and colleague through legal and financial tactics. We, at the BSN, recognize that this targeting stem from a long history of institutional failures to effectively address gendered and sexual violence. This dynamic has created a toxic climate which disproportionately harms and silences BIPOC women, and more specifically trans women and gender non-conforming folks. Furthermore, this institutional and interpersonal abuse is inextricable from the violence that has been routinely enacted against Muslim women on this campus, and in North America at large.
As an organization governed by the principles of Black Feminism, we want to make clear that we condemn this lawsuit. Predatory behaviour in any form is antithetical to our mandate of, “[promoting] the interests of Black people and to sensitize McGill University and the wider Montreal community to issues concerning these peoples”.
Furthermore, we are disappointed by the CBC’s decision to recirculate Ibrahim’s narrative with minimal context or criticism, and to publish photos of the individuals under attack. We find these actions reprehensible, especially when coupled with the anti-survivor rhetoric of Ibrahim’s legal representative. The article furthers a long history of the misrepresentation of student activism by the mainstream media through its consistent failure to centre student voices in its reporting.
We are motivated by the manifesto of the Third Eye Collective, which declares “[w]hen we harm one another, we must not be allowed to use intellectual spaces as a space to retreat from accountability. As activist scholars, we will no longer allow violence and rape to be pushed away to the private sphere”. The BSN wants every member of our community to know that we will not be standing on the sidelines as we watch members of the McGill community be punished for speaking up against violence.
The BSN Executive Team 2018 – 2019
Here are some resources for those who may require them:
- Sexual Assault Centre of the McGill Students’ Society (SACOMSS) sacomss.org
- Third Eye Collective (This organization is intended for Black women survivors)wordpress.com
- McGill Counselling Services ca/counselling/