Anger, frustration and prayers as Hamiltonians gathered to stand with Aleppo
'We're hoping at the very least to bring awareness to the larger Hamilton community,' imam says
Surrounded by 200 impassioned Hamiltonians chanting, "Save Syria," Aghyad Alshawaf shares his three prayers for Syria, which he fled almost one year ago.
"Today I ask God to answer three prayers of mine," Alshawaf said in Arabic, then in English. "First, to stop the killing in Syria; second, for the murderers responsible to be tried and held accountable for their crimes; and lastly, for the restoration and unification of my beloved homeland."
Outside Hamilton City Hall on Wednesday night, frustrated Syrians, members of the Muslim community and Hamilton residents also shared their wishes for a country fractured by civil war.
"I came out today because I think it's important to stand with the people of Aleppo and show our support," said Nagham Azzam, a social worker at Hamilton Health Sciences.
Azzam is Palestinian, and although she isn't Syrian she identifies with the frustration because "at the end of the day, they're our brothers and sisters in humanity," she said.
Anas Al-Kassem, a Syrian-Canadian doctor who was born in Syria but works as a surgeon in Simcoe, Ont., has been trying to get his doctors and nurses out of the war-torn city, with no success.
He called for the Canadian government to "step up."
But he wasn't the only one, Imam Sayed Tora of the Hamilton Downtown Mosque was also "calling on the Trudeau government to put some pressure on Russia and other countries that are playing a part in this."