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A Response to the “Spider-Man Protest” At Mt. Sinai Hospital In Toronto



As a society, we like to believe we have made strides in equality. We celebrate the diversity of our country, we have cultural sensitivity training workshops, anti-racism panels, and summits.

In media and politics, however, equality is a thin veneer that often peels off in times of crisis and conflict. Underneath are the enduring phenomenons of racism, injustice, and inequality manifested in various aspects of society; including education, media representation, and global power structures. They highlight the ongoing challenges in dismantling entrenched systems of privilege and domination. 

A glaring example of this is the discourse surrounding Palestine. Palestinian sentiments and emotions are systematically distorted and vilified, contributing to the dehumanization of an entire populace. This bias is palpable in the formulation of unjust policies and the blatant disregard for the demands and suffering of our communities.

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Now as concerned citizens rally across Canada to express their sorrow, anguish, and dissent against their country’s lackluster response, the mask has been ripped clear off. 

These demonstrations have faced significant censorship, with instances of heavy-handed police intervention and complete shutdowns in some locations. Slogans advocating for justice have been manipulated to align with dehumanizing narratives targeting Muslims and Palestinians. Regrettably, the media often labels these gatherings as “hate rallies,” “antisemitic,” or “anti-Israel.”

One need only look at the emergency protest for Rafah in Toronto, and the ensuing storm of lies and condemnation. 

It didn’t take long for the footage of a person dressed in a Spider-Man costume scaling the archway at the Mt. Sinai Hospital in Toronto to start circulating. 

Protest in Mt. Sinai
The fact that Spider-man had scaled a total of 8 structures, 3 of which were buildings along the route became irrelevant. 

The fact this person has an Instagram account which illustrates him scaling vantage points to wave the Palestinian flag at numerous protests in different cities across Canada did not matter. 

The fact the protest paused in front of many buildings along the way to give people a breather to allow others to catch up was not mentioned. 

The fact that at no point did anyone block patients from exiting and entering became irrelevant.  

An anonymous attendee from that night spoke to this “I can vouch that the protest paused on its way past the US embassy to give folks a break and some time for chants. As it also did outside the Toronto Film School and Hoops, and many other random locations based on pacing the crowd, not protesting.”

The headlines the next morning told a different story:

Everyone knows why protestors targeted Mount Sinai Hospital – The National Post

Terrorist supports harness hospital patients in hospitals – Toronto Sun

Police are investigating after a group of anti-Israel protestors targeted Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital – The Canadian Jewish News

This is a mere sampling of the dozens of articles and opinion pieces posted that claimed the protest was deliberately antisemitic and lied about the events that had transpired. 

It didn’t take long for politicians to join in to condemn what happened outside Mount Sinai Hospital that day.

In one fell swoop, tweets conflating the march with antisemitism, Jew-hatred, and extremism began to circulate on X -formerly known as Twitter- by politicians. 

Bonnie Crombie went as far as embellishing infiltration and intimidation to her tweet: 

This racist dehumanization of Palestinians is dangerous and inflammatory. Across Canada there is a terrifying spike in Islamophobia and Islamophobic attacks; this rhetoric is fuel to a fire that is already burning out of control. 

In fact, a mere four days after these hate-mongering tweets and articles were posted, an enraged man phoned, threatening to take matters into his own hands and kill the protestors on hospital row himself. 

Additionally, the Islamic Centre of Cambridge was vandalized with hate-motivated graffiti. This was barely covered by the media. As for the politicians, the irony of their condemnation of this days after they spouted fear-mongering Islamophobic rhetoric must have gone over their collective heads.

Adding insult to injury, these same media outlets and politicians who have unanimously condemned a protest outside a hospital, are eerily silent as hospital after hospital has been terrorized and targeted in both Gaza and the West Bank in Palestine. 

At the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin, Israeli soldiers did in fact infiltrate a hospital. They were dressed as doctors, women, and civilian men, which is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. Once inside they removed their disguise and proceeded to enter a patient’s room and assassinate the three people in that room. Our politicians were not moved to report on this. 

More recently, the last standing hospital, the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, was rendered non-functioning

Where once stood a hearth of healing, safety, and refuge now lies a killing machine; a military base. Doctors have been killed or are kidnapped and facing torture and degradation. The thousands of civilians seeking shelter are either dead or displaced, again. Parents are holding their children as they breathe their last breaths, murdered from wounds that could have been treated, sicknesses that could have been cured. The 70,000 injured civilians are now without medical care, as are the multitudes suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, and disease. 

The world saw this at Al-Shifaa Hospital, Al-Nasr Hospital, and Al-Ahli Hospital amongst many other hospitals. Reports on missing doctors describe cruel torture, stripped of their clothing and dignity, forced to wear chains, and crawl around eating food off the floor. Premature babies were found decomposed in their hospital beds, their fragile bones and bodies withered away, only a diaper to mark there once was a soft-skinned innocent life here. 

It is salt in a grieving community’s wounds then, when politicians blatantly express their hypocrisy. The continual stings of their apathy remind everyone of our pain and suffering. Of how our dead are less worthy to recognize in reaching out in empathy for our losses. Of how our hospitals are not sacred spaces, but legitimate military targets, with impunity and without the burden of proof.

Our media and politicians must be challenged. 

Where was their outrage when the hospitals in Gaza were decimated?

How culpable are they in attacks such as the Quebec Mosque Shooting and the London family ploughed down by a car?

What would have been the results, if, instead of calling TPS, this man (who is now in custody), actually took matters into his own hands and shot protestors, or rammed his car into protestors? 

How complicit in his crime would they be?

Our media and politicians are alienating the fastest-growing population in Canada. Muslims account for 4.9% of the population of Canada. As we can see, people are marching in the hundreds of thousands demanding justice. 

The National Council of Canadian Muslims recently refused to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, stating he was failing in both protecting Palestinian lives and living up to his promises to combat anti-Muslim attacks and rhetoric. 

Muslims and Palestinian supporters across Canada have vowed they will never forget which politicians stood silent or supported an ongoing genocide and cut funding to UNRWA on mere allegations. They are demanding concrete actions instead of empty promises. 

My questions are, can the Canadian government afford to continue marginalizing the fastest growing group of people in Canada? And does the Muslim community have grounds to take legal actions against their legal representatives for endangering their lives? 

The tides are changing. People across Canada (and the world) have discovered their power in mass movements in support of Palestinians and Palestine. 

The seeds of Palestinian support have been shaken, sprouted, and are growing globally. This growth will not stop. 

Palestinian supporters are not willing to forget what they have witnessed over the last few months at the hands of the apartheid regime of Israel. 

Palestinian supporters are not easily intimidated, bullied, or manipulated. They demand justice and will continue to strive for it.



Activism for Palestine in the West: Understanding the Agreement of Joe Biden and Jordan Peterson on Israel

Palestine: Reflecting, Responding, and Moving Forward

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Walaa Katoue is a mother of four beautiful kids based out of Calgary, Canada. Her passion for the overlap of psychology and Islam led her to obtain her Bachelor’s in Psychology and pursue an independent Islamic education. She is currently a research coordinator, with a particular interest in immigrant populations, their mental health and their discrimination. She is a long time advocate for Palestine and human rights.

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