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Western students demand better security after Muslim women allegedly spat on

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A person has been charged after multiple Muslim students at Western University allegedly were spat on.

In a statement, a Western spokesperson confirmed an individual faces two counts of assault and has been banned from campus, but the statement did not reveal if they were a student.

On campus Monday, female Muslim students shared they were aware of the incidents.

One woman, Dalal, said it comes as an added worry during a difficult time.

“At this time, we need more support rather than attacks,” she shared.

The president of the campus Muslim Student Association (MSA) said one of the alleged attacks occurred while a female student was passing near Middlesex College.

Yet, Abdirahman Salat said the incident is just one of many in recent weeks that has Muslim students feeling unsafe.

Abdirahman Salat is the president of the Muslim Student Association at London, Ont.'s Western University. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

“You have Muslim sisters and brothers who are continuously looking over their shoulders. They have to have a buddy with them, just to make sure they’re not being assaulted or get a comment that is harassing,” Salat explained.

The university acknowledged that “some incidents of Islamophobia and antisemitic acts” have been reported to campus constables.

While Salat appreciates the effort, he is calling on the university to do more to improve safety.

He said Muslim students are overstressed following the removal of their Chaplin earlier this fall, the verdict in the trial of the murder of a London Muslim family, and — most especially, the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Salat said the university must work to improve campus attitudes for all those experiencing pain from the conflict to ease tensions.

Members of the Muslim Student Association at London, Ont.'s Western University arrange bags during an informational event on Dec. 4, 2023. (Sean Irvine/CTV News London)

“The university needs to make sure Muslims are not facing Islamophobia. That our Jewish brothers and sisters are not facing antisemitism. There is no anti-Palestinian hate. This has no place on our campus whatsoever,” he said.

But Salat acknowledged prevention will be a challenge.

He said he is looking to Western to lead the effort to improve campus safety.

CTV News London requested an on-camera interview with Western to discuss the alleged spitting attacks and student concerns. However, a public relations spokesperson stated there was no “availability” by any senior leader on Monday.

Meanwhile, Muslim student Hisham Ellaw said the spitting incidents and campus security are worries he could do without as he fears for family members in Gaza.

“It does feel hard on the heart to hear of such incidents. And, again, safety is not guaranteed here on campus,” he said. 

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