Hamilton responds to 'barbaric' attacks from 'universal' enemy

How Hamiltonians are responding to the violent attacks in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere.

'We can't pick and choose who we mourn for,' local Muslim leader says

Mayor Fred Eisenberger tweeted "Je suis Paris" after calling for city hall to be lit up with France's flag colours on Saturday. (Fred Eisenberger/Twitter)

On Saturday night, Hamilton City Hall lit up in blue, white and red in solidarity with Paris after violent attacks in the French capital on Friday killed 129 people and wounded many more.

"We are saddened by this heartbreaking news," came a statement from Mayor Fred Eisenberger. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by last night's tragedy in Paris."

The Bulldogs paid homage to the victims of the attacks before their OHL game Saturday night. The Ticats had a moment of silence to begin Sunday's game. Organizers looked ahead to next weekend and are planning an illumination of Albion Falls for Nov. 21.

And Hamilton's Muslim community, several groups of which form the Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton, condemned the "horrible violence committed" by ISIS, said community leader and lawyer Hussein Hamdani.

Hamdani used the term "Daesh" to refer to the brutal militant group, which is the acronym for the group in Arabic and can have a pejorative second meaning. 

"We all have a universal enemy here," he said.

'We can't pick and choose who we mourn for'

Hamdani called Friday's attacks "shocking and barbaric," many of the targets young people and simply enjoying a concert or a soccer match. 

He said, however, the 43 people who died a day earlier in suicide bombings for which ISIS took responsibility in Beirut, Lebanon and the 26 people who died in an attack in Iraq deserved global attention, too. 

He said the vociferous reaction to the Parisians who died, while other very similar atrocities get nowhere near the attention, leaves some Canadians feeling excluded.

"We can't pick and choose who we mourn for," he said. 

"People react more emotionally when they feel a kinship with those who've died," Hamdani said. "Do we weep more for certain people?" 


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