Winnipeg mosque won't lock 'house of God' in wake of Quebec shooting
Winnipeg police will be present for Manitoba Islamic Association's community prayer Monday at 8 p.m.
Some Muslims in Winnipeg say the mass shooting in Quebec has alarmed and distressed them, but it won't make them secure the doors to their mosques.
Ibrahim Mohammed, who was at the Winnipeg Central Mosque mosque Monday morning, said the sanctuary has always been open for anyone to pray in or to simply come to learn more about Islam or the Muslim faith.
And that's how it will stay. Although on Monday, Winnipeg police will be present to offer support and answer questions.
"We respect everybody who comes in, Muslim, non-Muslim, they come in. Everybody's welcome to come in," Mohammed said.
"Why we should have locks to the house of God?"
Six men died in a shooting during evening prayers on Sunday at the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec, and 19 people were wounded.
- 6 dead in shooting at Quebec City mosque, 2 men arrested
- Quebec City mosque shooting shocks Winnipeggers, prompts security concerns
Five people remained in critical condition in hospital on Monday morning, including three in intensive care, a hospital spokesperson said.
Men were praying on the ground floor of the building when the attack happened, while women and children were upstairs. Those killed ranged in age from 35 to 70.
Two men were arrested in connection with the attack but police say only one is a suspect, the other is a witness.
While Winnipeg Central Mosque won't lock its doors, that doesn't mean local Muslims aren't afraid.
"We are worrying that this may spread, and if it's not stopped, everybody's going to be affected," Mohammed said, adding he's trying to put more emphasis on trust and faith.
Support for Canada's community began showing up on social media soon after news about the events in Quebec came out.
And a Facebook message posted by the Winnipeg Central Mosque, expressing thoughts and prayers for the Quebec victims and their families, has been met with an outpouring of love and support.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman also expressed love in a message on Twitter Monday morning.
"To our friends/neighbours who are Muslim: Winnipeg loves you & will protect you. We will fight all forms of hatred, together," he wrote.
The flags outside city hall have also been lowered to half-mast in honour of the victims of the Quebec shooting.
The Manitoba Islamic Association invites the public to a community prayer at 8 p.m. Monday at the Winnipeg Grand Mosque at 2445 Waverley St.
"We respond to this tragedy with prayers for the victims and for Quebec City and for Canada to remain a safe haven for people of all faiths and background," said Osaed Khan, president of the Manitoba Islamic Association.
"Places of worship should be peaceful refuge for all, regardless of religion," Khan added.
"We do not want to jump to conclusions until all the facts are known, but having this happen at this time leaves us on edge."
A vigil to show solidarity with victims in Quebec and all Muslims will be held outside at the legislative building Monday night.
Hosted by Manitobans for Human Rights and the University of Manitoba Muslim Students Association, it is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. with brief statements, followed by a candle lighting and moment of silence.