Students at the University of Connecticut are rallying behind a Muslim student after someone wrote "killed Paris" on the nametag hanging outside his dorm room, NBC Connecticut reported Monday. Students planned a demonstration Monday with the goal of pushing the administration to do more to address issues related to racial justice. "We want to make sure that everybody is feeling safe. They have the love and support that they need," junior Ahmed Ouda said.
Mahmoud Hashem, a civil engineering student, said he discovered the message Saturday, just one day after a string of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris left some 129 people dead and at least 350 others wounded. The attack was believed to have been carried out by a cell affiliated with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS.
— Mike Limberg (@mikelimberg17) November 16, 2015
— Rick O'Toole (@rotoole) November 16, 2015
Hashem said the support has been overwhelming since other students learned about what happened to him. He said he met with the school's dean Sunday, and he hoped whoever was responsible for scrawling the message would learn to hold off judgment in the future.
"To find people like who hate discrimination and help other people... it’s a good thing in my opinion," said Hashem.
The school's president, Susan Herbst sent out a universitywide update informing students of what had happened. "This has no place at UConn; we are a better university than that – and I believe a better nation than that," she said. "The true character of our university is thoughtful, welcoming, and caring – and has no patience for bigotry."
The news comes as Muslims in the U.S. and in other Western countries fear a backlash from rising anti-Islam sentiment following the Paris attack Friday evening. A mosque in Ontario, Canada, was reportedly set on fire Saturday night, in what police are now investigating as a possible hate crime. The mosque sustained some $80,000 in smoke damage.
Muslims leaders have widely condemned ISIS since the group became a powerful force in Syria and Iraq and swiftly condemned Friday's attack in Paris. The group abides by a rigid interpretation of Islamic law that is opposed by most of the world's Muslims.