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

‘ALR golf courses should return to farming,’ says ex-ALC chair Frank Leonard

Former mayor says Saanich could appeal Cedar Hill Golf Course application

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

Who is Vancouver Island’s greatest athlete ever?

We want to know, you get to choose in a 64-athlete tournament bracket

Saanich taking heat over process surrounding Haro Woods

District delays decision on the future of cycling in popular Saanich park

UPDATE: VicPD defend decision not to warn public after initial attack

String of assaults downtown Wednesday night left several people with serious injuries

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

UPDATE: Blood found in missing man’s vehicle

Searchers are sticking to a high-priority area before expanding their search for Ben Kilmer

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Royal Oak loses Canada Post outlet

Potal outlet in Country Grocer closed after nearly two decades, service handled by other locations

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

LETTER: Dog poop on school grounds has Cordova Bay Grade 3s looking for answers

We are Grade 3 students at Cordova Bay School. We have noticed… Continue reading

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Most Read