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

Seven years later, what’s changed since the 2011 Malahat fuel truck crash and closure?

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic Friday morning after roughly 13-hour closure

Two people injured in crash on Malahat

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic early Friday morning

Malahat closure snarls traffic

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic early Friday morning

Victoria heroes rappel 15 storeys for the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Over $60,000 raised at city’s first Rope for Hope event

Victoria man claims he was racially profiled at local health food store

Loss prevention officer employed by third party company refused customer entry to store

VIDEO: Campers leave big mess at rural Port Renfrew campsite

Vehicle parts, garbage, a mattress, lawn chairs, beer cans, and even fecal matter left in the area

B.C. pipeline goes ahead despite scrapped Pacific Northwest LNG

NEB approves amendment for $1.4-billion natural gas North Montney Mainline Project

Update: Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps from 60 to 800 hectares

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 50 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Looming tax changes could bring pay hike for Saanich councillors

Will Saanich council raise remuneration rates? That is one of the looming… Continue reading

Feds limit chinook fishery to help killer whale recovery

Chinook is main food source for only 76 southern residents killer whales left

B.C. mom who died just before daughter’s wedding wanted family to be happy: twin

Ann Wittenberg was pulled into the ocean while on a surf board in Tofino last weekend

Courtenay-Alberni MP calls for lifeguards at popular surf spot near Tofino

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is defending its decision to cancel the surf guard program.

Harvey Weinstein to surrender in sex misconduct probe: officials

Would be first criminal charge against Weinstein since scores of women came forward

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

Ben Makuch challenges Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that he must give materials for stories to RCMP

Most Read