A Winnipeg woman who lost her partner in the September 11th attacks, says it's necessary to stand against Islamophobia to fight violence around the world.
"It is necessary to stand up against it," Ellen Judd said at CBC's forum on racism in Winnipeg on Wednesday.
Judd's partner, Christine Egan, was visiting her brother Michael Egan at work on the 105th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center when it was struck by a hijacked plane. Nearly 3,000 people died during the attack.
"I think I was stunned and in shock for a while. It's unexpected," Judd said.
Losing her partner in the attack that day made her a part of the world's pain, she said.
"When I see all the places that are being bombed, I relate to the people whom that is happening and I also know they don't have the kind of support that I had at the time," Judd added.
"I think that a lot of us have a great deal in common because of what's been unleashed on that day. What we can do is try to break down those efforts to create barriers."
In January, Judd went to Guantanamo Bay to witness the pretrial hearings for the five men accused of plotting the 9/11 terrorist attack. Three years ago, she also went to the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and a chief propagandist for al-Qaeda.
Judd said during the process it reinforced her belief that religion was not the problem.
"The problem is really one of a willingness to engage in a great deal of violence and that has happened on both or all sides of the conflict that has raged all over the world for the last 15 years," she said.
Conversations around Islamophobia have preoccupied Canadians since Motion 103 was tabled by Mississauga, Ont., Liberal backbencher Iqra Khalid last fall and in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque.
The motion calls on government to "condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination."
At the start of the month, there were a series of protests nationwide to oppose the parliamentary motion. They were confronted by counter-protesters across the country.
Judd said it never occurred to her to place the blame of her partner's death on a specific religion.
"It seemed to me that these people were responsible and it didn't occur to me to hold other people responsible. What overwhelmed me, I suppose at that time and has continued to preoccupy me, is how people can choose to be so extremely violent. This issue to me isn't one of religion, it's of hatred and violence," she said.
"And we can find that, unfortunately, in very many places and I don't think that it is confined to any particular religion."
To curb the violence the boundaries being erected between the West and the Islamic world needs to be broken down, particularly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I think a lot us have a great deal in common because of what's been unleashed on that day. What we can do is try to break down those efforts to create barriers," she said.