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Vigil for Quebec City mosque

A vigil is planned in Calgary to commemorate the Jan. 29 2017 attack on a Quebec City mosque.

“The one year anniversary is coming up and we need to support each other. I feel like it’s [Islamophobia] kind of getting worse,” said Kohawar Khan, vice presidentof Think for Actions.

A vigil to remember the Quebec City Shooting will be held at Calgary City Hall on Monday, Jan. 29, from 7 to 8 p.m.

“It’s not remembering the mosque shooting, I think it’s remembering an event in which six people lost their lives”

“We do have amazing people that do amazing work. I think Premier Notley and the anti-racism agenda that they added on helps. It helps us feel like someone’s acknowledging us,” said Khan, adding how Muslims across the country have been affected by the attack one year later.

Khan said she has seen a rise of support for minorities in Alberta, but that this has been mirrored by a rise in Islamophobia.

In one of the worst terrorist attacks in Canadian history, on Jan. 29, 2017, a shooter opened fire at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City during prayers.

Six men died and 19 were wounded.
Azzeddine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi, Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Abdelkrim Hassane and Aboubaker Thabti were killed in the attack.

Alexandre Bissonnette, the accused shooter, will stand trial in March to face six charges of first degree murder and six charges of attempted murder.

“Every single person, when that Quebec City shooting happened, they’ll let you know where they were. It’s the anniversary of something horrific that happened. It’s just that day and it’s only that day,” said Khan.

Khan compared the mosque shooting to 9/11 because it is a day that will stand in notoriety within our culture, and both events directly affected the perceptions of Muslims in the Canadian community.

The Canadian federal government is still deciding if the anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting will become a day of action against Islamophobia, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We are in reflection on this. We have seen, over several years, a worrisome increase of hate crimes against the Muslim community. We also see hate crimes against all religions,” said Trudeau.

Over the past four years, hate crimes against Muslims in Canada have increased by more than 250 per cent.

“I think it’s important to underline the intolerance against people of faith […] We want to avoid the kind of backlash we sometimes see when we launch such actions because, unfortunately, there is still a small, intolerant minority.

“But we are in reflection on how to go about this,” said Trudeau in an interview with Radio-Canada’s French-language morning show.

Trudeau was asked by the National Council of Canadian Muslims, along with more than 70 Canadian Muslim associations and organizations, to make Jan. 29 a national day of remembrance and action against Islamophobia.

The request was made based on the precedent of the National Day of
Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women that takes place on Dec. 6, the anniversary of the 1989 École Polytechnique de Montréal massacre.

“It’s not remembering the mosque shooting, I think it’s remembering an event in which six people lost their lives and 19 people were injured […] They were in a place of worship where people go to find peace,” said Dr. Mukarram Ali Zaidi, chairperson of Think for Actions.

“This happened at a place where people feel most safe and they just lost their lives for no reason.”

Zaidi said that the attack served to remind people of the reality that events like this can happen, especially in the face of rising Islamophobia in the country.

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