Funeral held in Quebec City for three more victims of mosque shooting
A day after three of the men shot to death in a Quebec City mosque were laid to rest in Montreal, mourners gathered on Friday to bury the other three victims in their home city.
The ceremony at the city’s convention centre honoured Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry and Azzeddine Soufiane, all of whom suffered fatal gunshot wounds on Sunday night as they gathered to pray.
According to witness accounts, Soufiane attempted to tackle the gunman as the shooting began while the former two were cousins who family members have said were as close as brothers.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Archbishop Gerald Lacroix are expected to speak and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume were all in attendance.
"It's high time those behind these messages -- whether they are politicians, radio or TV hosts or other public personalities -- realize the harm their words can cause," Trudeau said to an applauding crowd.
"Confronted with these words that hurt and exclude, it falls on us to defend the values that are important to us," he said.
"Every one of us is responsible for leading the fight against injustice and discrimination in daily life, for acting in a way that represents who we are, that represents Canada, that represents the country that Azzedine Soufiane, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry loved so much."
Couillard acknowledged the community’s pain, and Labeaume said that once and for all, the city will establish a Muslim cemetery.
Hassan Guillet, a religious leader and members of Quebec’s council of Imams, said he hopes the funeral will mark the beginning of a conversation on how to combat Islamophobia.
“It’s easy to say to everybody ‘We love you, you are nice, everything is OK,’” he said. “But this happened, there is definitely a problem. We should look at this problem and see what we can do better in the future.”
Guillet also referred to Alexandre Bissonnette, the alleged killer, as 'also a victim.'
"Alexandre, before being a killer, he was a victim also," Guillet told several thousand people packed into the Quebec City convention centre.
"Before shooting bullets into the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas, more dangerous than the bullets, in his head. But we want Alexandre to be the last one who will have some criminal act like that."
With files from The Canadian Press