More than 1,000 people gather for anniversary of mosque shooting

A large crowd gathered in Quebec City one year from the deadly mosque shooting

More than a thousand people braved the frigid temperatures in Quebec City tonight for a vigil to mark the one-year anniversary of a mosque shooting where six men died.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and other leaders attended the gathering in honour of the six men and 19 others who were injured when a gunman fired into the Islamic cultural centre during evening prayers.

The vigil began with the reading of the victims’ names and the number of children they had.

RELATED: Optimism in the Okanagan a year after mosque shooting

One of those children, Amir Belkacemi, challenged the crowd to never forget the tragedy that took his father’s life on Jan. 29, 2017.

Trudeau also addressed the crowd, encouraging Quebecers and Canadians to reflect on Islamophobia and to not shy away from the word.

Trudeau and Couillard then led a march to the mosque, where they and other dignitaries stuck white roses into a snowbank in memory of the victims.

Quebec City resident Etienne Prevost, who lives near the mosque, said he remembers hearing the first police sirens go by exactly one year ago.

Provost, who carried a sign that reads “Quebec City will never forget,” said he was still shaken by the sight of the dead and injured being carried from the mosque.

Earlier in the day, Trudeau said in speech in the House of Commons that racism is to blame for the massacre, and called on all MPs to stand against Islamophobia.

The victims of the mass shooting were Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

Alexandre Bissonnette is to stand trial in March on six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

RELATED: Candlelight vigil response to terrorist attack

“We owe it to (the victims) to speak up and stand tall and explicitly against Islamophobia and discrimination in all its forms,” Trudeau said in the House of Commons.

His call to action Monday afternoon received just tepid applause, conjuring up memories of the heated debate about the use of the term Islamophobia, which took off after Liberal MP Iqra Khalid introduced a 2016 motion that also called on parliamentarians to condemn Islamophobia and all forms of discrimination.

In his speech in the House, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer did not use the term “Islamophobia,” but condemned the shooting as an “act of terror” and a “hate crime.”

“This shooting was an act of terror that shook up the entire region, province and country,” Scheer said.

He said Canada has to be a country where people of all faiths can worship freely and safely.

During last year’s leadership race, Scheer argued that Khalid’s motion didn’t properly define the word “Islamophobia” and pointed out that Canada already has laws to protect individuals from hatred.

New Democrat MP Guy Caron, the NDP’s parliamentary leader, did use the term in his speech, asking Canadians to commit to fighting Islamophobia.

Scheer and Caron were at the vigil Monday evening, as was NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

Earlier this month, the National Council of Canadian Muslims lobbied both Trudeau and Couillard to declare Jan. 29 a national day of remembrance and action against Islamophobia. Couillard opposed the idea and, while Trudeau has not expressly rejected it, he has not made the declaration.

Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Trail and parking upgrades beginning at Seal Bay Park

Park upgrade work is planned at the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD)… Continue reading

More than 2 million salmon to be released into Puntledge River

Water flows will be higher than usual next week

Woman assaulted at Bill Moore Park in Courtenay

Female grabbed from behind Thursday morning

Comox presentation on cycling the Silk Road

Do you enjoy fascinating cycling stories? Interested in education in the developing… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Most Read