Calgarians marking Quebec Mosque attack anniversary vow to tackle hate in Alberta
More than 100 people gathered Tuesday night to discuss ways to tackle ignorance and hate directed at Muslims
More than 100 people from different faiths gathered at an Islamic centre in northeast Calgary Tuesday night to mark the second anniversary of the Quebec City Mosque attack that left six men dead.
The gathering at the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre heard speeches from the Muslim community, Imams and politicians and included videos, a Q&A, and a movie screening of Your Last Walk In The Mosque. The movie details what happened two years ago after Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire inside a Quebec City Mosque at the end of evening prayers.
"We want to make sure that we can still find ways to overcome the hatred, the bigotry, the ignorance that drove this heinous act with knowledge and friendship, and make sure we have a place to come together and remember what happened," said organizer Saima Jamal.
Some people at the event said far-right politics and ideology is alive and well in Alberta, which is seen by many as a concern.
"I myself was attacked by a person verbally with racial slurs and I kind of feel this racial thing is on the rise and I wanted to express my solidarity with the incident that happened in Quebec and let Canadians know this shouldn't happen anymore," said Kaniz Fatima.
Alberta Education Minister David Eggen, one of several politicians at the event, says the provincial government knows it still has work to do in addressing the issue of racism and Islamophobia.
"We are building anti-racism strategies and we know people are using hatred to divide the population for political purposes and it's reprehensible, it causes insecurity and breaks the fabric of who we are as Albertans," said Eggen.
The event was one of many vigils and gatherings talking place across Canada.
"It's important to remember these souls and to unite our community," said Muhammad Hajar, chair of the Muslim Council of Calgary.
"We'd love it as Muslims to see all Canadians united against any hate crime, against any discrimination," said Hajar.
The Muslim Council Of Calgary was one of the organizers of the event, which included prayers from Imam Sheikh Fayaz Tilley and a Quran recital by Sheikh Jamal Hammoud.
"I believe this event will be good for us and the community," said Ayman Noufl, a refugee from Syria.
"My wish is to prevent this kind of action, as a human being this is not good for us," said Noufl. "Because Canada is safe country and best country and I hope it won't happen again," he said.
The event included a chance for the audience to voice their own ideas to overcome hate and ignorance.
It ended with a minute's silence.