Thousands attend vigils as Quebecers unite after mosque attack
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume laid flowers at a solemn vigil in Quebec City Monday night along with a mass of people who turned up to pay their respects.
More than one thousand people turned up for the show of solidarity outside Notre Dame de Foy church on Chanoine Martin St., one block east of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre that was attacked Sunday.
Trudeau told those in attendance that Canada stands with the Muslim community.
"The Quebec community experienced something that no community should have to experience. An act of cruelty, of violence that is indescribable," he said.
"We stand with you. We love you and we support you, and we will always defend and protect your right to gather together to pray today and every day."
Opposition leaders Rona Ambrose, Thomas Mulcair, and Elizabeth May also travelled from Ottawa to Quebec City to attend.
As the vigil took place in Quebec City, there were also multiple events in Montreal.
Sameer Zuberi helped organize a vigil near the Park metro station in Montreal, at the corner of Jean Talon Blvd. and Park Ave.
People attend a vigil for victims of the mosque shooting in Quebec City Monday, January 30, 2017 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Thousands showed up to convey their solidarity with the victims of the attack and their families.
"It was something we felt that was necessary given what had happened so people could come together in solidarity, so this is not only an event for people of the Muslim faith but also for everyone in society," said Zuberi.
"This is something for everybody, for all Montrealers... (to) show their solidarity with the families who lost loved ones, and also with the Muslim community within Quebec and Canada," said Zuberi.
He said this vigil was organized by a group of human rights activists.
"They're quite rattled. It could have been anybody that was there. It's not unusual to have a prayer in a place of worship. This could have been anybody in our society," said Zuberi.
Half of the crowd was non-Muslim, showing unity after the attack on the religious group.
"I may not be Muslim but I want to be an ally," said Hayley Doane.
Leaders from other faith communities also lent their support.
"Six people died in a mosque in Quebec, Canada. A few years ago, eight people died in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. And hatred and racism and discrimination are telling us our sacred spaces aren't safe. So the Muslim community needs to know they are part of our community, the human community," said Rev. Darryl Gray.
No politicians were given the microphone to speak, but some were there to take part.
"I'm extremely happy to see the reaction, being the minister of social inclusion and diversity. This is extremely important," said Heritage Minister Melanie Joly.
Another vigil outside the St. Michel metro station was organized by the Anti-Islamophobia Canadian Collective.
Archbishop of Montreal Reverend Christian Lepine celebrated a special mass for victims of the mosque shooting and their families at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.
Montreal City Hall tured off its lights Monday evening as a display of mourning.
With files from The Canadian Press