Volume 95, Issue 88

Wednesday, March 20, 2002
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Laurier Tory took small 'bonus'

Grad students consider bus pass

Fanshawe builds giant crib to protect students

Students' councils losing cash - literally

Lecture on troubled India

Students to protect border

News Briefs

Lecture on troubled India

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

Yesterday afternoon on the University Community Centre's concrete beach, an information session was held to inform students of the violence in India.

The Muslim Students' Association invited Munir El-Kassem, an associate professor in Western's faculty of medicine and dentistry, to speak on the topic.

The violence centres around the 1992 destruction of a Muslim mosque in Ayodhya, India by Hindus, El-Kassem said.

The mosque was originally built on the site of what some believed was the birthplace of a Hindu god. The World Hindu Council is now calling for the construction of a temple on this site and this has increased tensions, El-Kassem said.

Recently, the violence escalated when a train carrying right-wing Hindus was set ablaze and 58 people died, he said, adding the recent wave of attacks has resulted in the death of 5,000 Muslims.

"On behalf of the Muslim Students' Association here at Western, we offer the strongest possible condemnation of the violence," El-Kassem said.

He called for the Indian government to end the bloodshed and asked the Canadian government to denounce the violence. "Authorities in India have done very little to end the violence," he said. "Several members of the present [Indian] cabinet, including the home minister, watched as this happened."

El-Kassem called for non-partisanship and hoped people of different backgrounds would express condemnation of India's current situation.

The lecture was followed by a moment of silence.

MSA president Khurram Khan said the lecture was designed to educate Western students about events around the world.

"Hopefully people will respond to this call by further educating themselves and taking action to end this tragedy," he added.

Firas Al-Zawati, a second-year computer science student, said he attended the lecture because he was not fully aware of the situation in India.

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