The movement was founded by Soleiman’s eldest brother, Yusuf Faqiri, only a day or two after Soli’s death.
Yusuf recalled the look of shock and horror on his mother Maryam’s face after officers had arrived at the Faqiri household to inform the family of Soli’s death. Feeling powerless, Maryam remarked, “I don’t have a voice. I don’t have a tongue.” She then looked into Yusuf’s eyes and implored, “I need you to find out what happened to my son. I need you to find answers.” Being the eldest son, Yusuf felt a compulsion to do something. It was at that moment when the quest to find answers began and the Justice for Soli movement was born.
The correctional system had expected the Faqiri family to passively roll over and accept this injustice, but it soon became clear that they had seriously underestimated Yusuf’s determination to find answers and the depth of support from Soli’s friends and family.
In early 2017, the McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice became the first organization to throw its support behind the Justice for Soli movement, transforming what was previously a small group of friends and family into a larger social justice movement with hundreds of supporters.
In February 2017, the McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice created a video to build awareness about what had happened to Soleiman and address the systemic issues that had contributed to his death. The video was widely circulated on social media and brought greater attention to Soli’s case at a time when there was relatively little media coverage.
At first, it was just those who knew the Faqiri family who rallied behind Yusuf in his quest for justice and accountability. Before long, however, the movement grew beyond friends and family, to include community activists and–ultimately–a diverse array of supporters and regular Canadians from coast to coast.