‘President Trump should hear and understand’: Quebec City unites in grief for six killed in mosque massacre as thousands hold vigil in sub-zero temperatures
President : They were shocked, but mostly mournful, as the people of Quebec City turned out in their thousands to honor the victims of the massacre in the mosque.
Candles were lit and placed in the snow piles and prayers were said in the sub-zero temperatures in respect to the fallen six, alleged to have been gunned down by local student Alexandre Bissonnette.
There had been only one homicide in the whole of 2016 among the 500,000 population and the one previous to that was reported to have been 16 months before that.
Vigil: A memorial for victims killed in a shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in Quebec City
Grief: Flowers and candles have been lit outside the mosque where six people were shot dead on Sunday night
Therefore few could have been surprised at the massive shockwaves that reverberated.
To lose six neighbors, who were praying as the bullets tore into them, was too much for nearly all those who turned out and braved the ice and freeze.
Marc Chamberland, 21, said: ‘These people are part of my community and they were an equal. I live 20 minutes away from the Mosque where they died so I really feel this very badly.
‘I am sorry for them and their families and I don’t want anybody’s race or religion to be a reason for this kind of thing.’
Unity: People gather around a memorial for victims killed in the massacre at the mosque
Strong words: Johanne Voyer, left, with her daughter Penelope issued words of warning to President Trump
Languages expert Johanne Voyer, who brought her daughter Penelope, 11, with her to the vigil, said: ‘This kind of violence with guns just does not belong in Quebec City. We just don’t have it here and there are such strict gun controls.
‘I also want to say that being Canadian means you can be from any religion or racial background and that you are the same as everybody else.
‘President Trump should hear and understand that. It is the words he has been saying and his immigration changes that can lead to trouble and that doesn’t belong here in Quebec.’
She said Trump’s ban on Muslims from seven countries from entering the US would appeal to people who might readily attack Muslims feeling they were spurred on to feel such actions were acceptable.
‘We all belong here in this community. I am just very sorry and had to come here and show some support for the people who died. We all lost somebody in the Mosque.’
Shock to the system: Canada is generally welcoming toward immigrants and all religions, but the French-speaking province of Quebec has had a long-simmering debate about race and religious accommodation
Police had to seal off roads around the Islamic cultural centre in the Quebec City suburb of Sainte-Foy to accommodate the massive show of support and people carefully marched through the snow to join in.
Yanmay Rand, 18, said: ‘At my school there were Muslims and I had one good friend and I want him to know that we are here for him and all the other people who attend Mosques in Quebec. They can do that safely.’
Billy Manston, a retired truck driver, said: ‘I didn’t know this mosque existed until this happened; But I am determined with all the other people here that it will continue as before.
‘The Muslims will get all the love and support from us that God will allow us to give. We are not having any racist trouble in Quebec City.’ Members of the Muslim community thanked the well-wishers who had helped them through the darkest 24 hours after the Mosque, which can hold 1000 worshipers, was attacked on Sunday evening.
Amir Belkacemi, whose college professor father Khaled was killed, registered his grief and his thanks on Facebook.
He said: ‘Last night, during the events vile to the mosque of Sainte-Foy, several families have been shaken forever. This is the case of mine, so that my father lost his life in the hands of a madman.
‘My Father, a man right and good, an example of resilience… loved by all, a teacher and a researcher emeritus, a fighter, who left his country to give a chance has his family live far away from the horror.
‘ Fate has caught up with us. Today, the entire Arab- Muslim community of Quebec’s in shock. But we will remain in solidarity, proud and strong.
‘ Thank you to the hundreds of people who have called, which we have sent their sympathies, which we visited. Your support is essential for us. Together, we shall overcome hatred and ignorance.
Local Imam Raza Shah told Daily Mail.com thanked those who arrived for the vigil and said, ‘The support shown today proves that the trouble makers are a small minority. I think that this was a long time coming because even before the policies we had seen sporadic hate crimes over the last few years.
‘It must serve as a wake up call that we need to act now, because such mindsets will always exist, regardless of who is in power and what the policies are. Unless we don’t act now and make an effort to understand one another, it is possible that we may suffer more tragedies
‘I was overwhelmed and honored and very touched by the amazing support we saw across the city and country. This proves that bigotry and hatred will never prevail because the goodness and compassion of people will always overcome it.
‘The enormous support was amazing to see, and we should take it one step further and always stay closely knit and connected so we can avoid tragic events such as what we saw yesterday .
‘More than ever as a representative of Islam I feel that Muslims must display and practice their faith. Because if we don’t, we are letting the perpetrators get what they want. In order to honor the dead our faith must be stronger than ever.’
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