Quebec City musicians hold benefit concert for survivor of mosque shooting

Classical music performers in Quebec City are uniting to perform a benefit concert on Sunday for Aymen Derbali, one of the survivors of the 2017 Sainte-Foy mosque shooting.

Money will go toward helping Aymen Derbali buy and adapt new home for his family

Derbali's daughter Maryem embraces her dad during his weekend visit home. He has been living in a rehabilitation centre for the past year. (Maxime Corneau/Radio-Canada)

Beatrice Madeline Cadrin said she doesn't know how many people would been willing to sacrifice themselves to save others, the way Aymen Derbali did more than a year ago.

That's why Cadrin decided she wanted to do something to show the community's support for the 41-year-old by organizing a benefit concert in his honour.

Derbali is one of the survivors of the shooting at the Sainte-Foy mosque on Jan. 29, 2017. When he entered the prayer room that night, a shooter was already aiming his gun at the worshippers.

"[Derbali] even had time to analyze the situation and judge that if the shooter was shooting toward him, he wouldn't be putting anyone else in danger," said Cadrin.

Derbali was hit by seven bullets and is still living in a rehabilitation centre, away from his wife and their three children.
Aymen Derbali, 41, is relearning how to navigate the world after the mosque shooting. He can only move his head, arms and hands. (Maxime Corneau/Radio-Canada)

A fundraising campaign organized last year by the Muslim charity Dawanet, based in Toronto, has already raised $400,000 to allow Derbali to buy a wheelchair-adapted home. 

Cadrin said she wanted to do something locally, to give citizens the opportunity to show their support.

"Once the home is bought there are still fees and costs that have to be taken into consideration," she said.

Derbali to attend concert

Derbali said he was very touched by the gesture, and plans to attend the concert with his family.

He said the support he's seen pour in from across the country has helped the Muslim community get through a very difficult year.

"These citizens who have supported us through this tragedy, it has shown us that good will triumph over evil," Derbali told Radio-Canada this week.

The concert is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m., at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, in Old Quebec. The event is free, but donations will be collected at the door.

It will feature performances by students from local music schools, Beethoven's Symphony No.3, as well as the Cathedral's choir.

The concert will open with an original composition from singer Zakia Zoukri.

With files from Breakaway and Radio-Canada