Seven years after the lethal assault on a Quebec Metropolis mosque, Boufeldja Benabdallah’s voice broke as he spoke in regards to the killing of six males who had come there simply to wish.

They weren’t praying for themselves, Benabdallah, the co-founder of the Quebec Metropolis Islamic Cultural Centre, informed attendees Monday at a ceremony commemorating the victims of the Jan. 29, 2017, assault. That they had been thanking God for the blessings they noticed on this planet when a gunman entered the mosque.

“Inside two minutes, he fired 48 bullets, taking the lives of six fathers and wounding 5 others,” Benabdallah mentioned.

Audio system on the annual ceremony known as for the assault to be remembered so it’s not repeated and warned of rising hatred towards Muslims in Canada.

“We cry to recollect this second and to say that these are vital moments, moments that mustn’t ever return to humanity,” Benabdallah mentioned.

Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane and Aboubaker Thabti had been killed on the mosque shortly after night prayers.

Amira Elghawaby, Canada’s particular consultant on combatting Islamophobia, mentioned Canadians needs to be not be afraid to be who they’re, or to apply the faith of their selection.

“Right this moment, as our communities are seeing a distressing rise in Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism, we should take this second to remind one another of the results of leaving hate unchecked in our society,” she informed attendees on the ceremony.

Quebec Metropolis Mayor Bruno Marchand mentioned yearly when he’s requested to talk on the ceremony, he tries to seek out phrases or gestures that heal the ache individuals are feeling.

“I don’t know if these phrases exist, I don’t know if that gesture exits, however we by no means cease making an attempt,” he mentioned.

Quebec is enriched by its variations, he mentioned, however added there may be nonetheless work to do to finish intimidation, hate and violence.

The ceremony was additionally marked by requires solidarity with the Palestinian individuals, with some describing the Israeli navy’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas assaults as a genocide.

Maryam Bessiri, one of many hosts of the ceremony, mentioned many attendees on the occasion have been deeply affected by the struggling of Palestinian civilians.

“We share their ache and we denounce the silence, the dearth of motion and the absence of solidarity from our authorities,” she mentioned.

Earlier on Monday, Mohamed Labidi, the president of the Islamic Cultural Centre, informed an Ottawa information convention that the present local weather of rising Islamophobia reminds him of the weeks and months earlier than the assault.

“The mosque’s worshippers reported disgusting feedback, vandalism and violent actions in the direction of our group (earlier than the 2017 assault.) Nonetheless, the largest menace was the environment of impunity. Hateful individuals felt free to assault us, our lives had been thought of low-cost and unimportant,” he informed a information convention in Ottawa. “What makes me indignant as we speak is that we’re as soon as once more residing on this environment and surroundings.”

Labidi mentioned he believes Canadian governments — at a number of ranges — have allowed this environment to return for the reason that starting of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

He made the feedback at a information convention organized by the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims, the place Stephen Brown, the group’s chief government, mentioned he had cancelled a deliberate assembly with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Brown mentioned his group is receiving extra complaints associated to Islamaphobia than at any time prior to now and that Trudeau’s authorities has didn’t comply with by way of on an election promise to create a victims of hate help fund that will have offered compensation to the survivors of the mosque bloodbath.

Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and Premier François Legault, who’ve attended the ceremony prior to now, didn’t take part this yr, although each made statements marking the anniversary of the assault.

“We pay tribute to the victims we misplaced to this heinous act of hate. We additionally stand in solidarity with our Muslim pals and neighbours and reaffirm our dedication to combating Islamophobia,” Trudeau mentioned in a press release.

Quebec Premier François Legault marked the anniversary in a Fb put up, writing that “past our variations, we’re all Quebecers. We now have an obligation to make sure that these hateful acts by no means occur once more.”

— By Jacob Serebrin

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Jan. 29, 2024.


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