British Columbia

I have proof my community loves me, says Muslim solidarity rally participant

Hundreds of people attended a rally in front of Victoria's city hall Tuesday in the wake of the shootings at a Quebec mosque.

There were gatherings in Duncan and Victoria Tuesday to show support and solidarity for Muslims

Hana Alkadafi says she has never experienced prejudice while living in Canada. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Hundreds of people gathered in Victoria Tuesday at a rally to show support for and solidarity with Muslims. 

Hana Alkadafi, a member of the city's Muslim community, was in the crowd.

"I am so happy because I can see the love and care of my community," Alkadafi said.

"I am Canadian. I believe my community loves me, that my community cares about me. Today, I have proof of that. I have concrete proof.

"People leave their school and work to come and say they are here for me. People brought flowers, their love, their hugs, so I can feel secure. I am home."

Alkadafi moved to Canada seven years ago as an international student from Libya.

Mayor Lisa Helps says after Sunday's shooting she received many calls from people wishing to hold a solidarity rally. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

She says she has never experienced racism in Canada.

"I haven't had experience with fear or injustice or discrimination, but lately what happened in Quebec, it is really something unacceptable. I didn't expect it."

Alkadafi says she was surprised that the fatal shooting at a Quebec mosque would happen in a place like Canada.

The six people were killed two days after Trump announced a travel ban on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.

"I was banned by the Trump travel ban. I don't fear him. I don't want to go to a place where I am not welcome," Alkadafi said.

Victoria's mayor, Lisa Helps, also attended Tuesday's rally.

She says shortly after the shooting was reported in the news, people started calling and asking to hold a gathering.

Treat each other with kindness

"The community wanted to come together to show support and solidarity for Muslim brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends," Helps said.

Helps echoed the message of the imam who spoke at the rally.

Rallies have been held in cities across Canada to show solidarity and support for the Muslim community. (Mike McArthur)

"The best thing we can do in these uncertain times is to love each other well, treat each other with kindness," Helps said. "Love is more powerful than fear or hate or the differences that people are trying to use to divide us." 

A rally to show solidarity and support for Muslims was also held in Duncan on Tuesday.