Manitoba

Special prayers to be held in Winnipeg to remember victims of attack at Egyptian mosque

The Manitoba Islamic Association is holding a special prayer Saturday night in remembrance of the victims of a horrific attack during Friday prayers at a mosque in Egypt.

People of any faith welcome to attend services, which will be in English and Arabic

Relatives of Sheikh Sulieman Ghanem, 75, centre, surround him as he receives medical treatment following a horrific attack during Friday prayers at a mosque in Egypt. On Saturday, a special prayer service to remember victims of the attack will be held at the Winnipeg Grand Mosque. (Amr Nabil/Associated Press)

The Manitoba Islamic Association is holding a special prayer Saturday night in remembrance of the victims of a horrific attack during Friday prayers at a mosque in Egypt.

About 25 militants carrying ISIS flags entered a mosque Friday in Egypt's North Sinai and opened fire. Among the 305 reported dead are 27 children, and 128 more were injured, according to The Associated Press.

"We're very saddened about what happened at the mosque shooting in Egypt," said Osaed Khan, president of the Manitoba Islamic Association. "We wanted to find a way to channel our [grief] about what happened."

The group will help host special prayers on Saturday night at 8 p.m., following regular prayers at the Winnipeg Grand Mosque at 2455 Waverley St.

Khan stressed all people of any faith are welcome to attend to show their support.

"This is supposed to be a place of refuge and worship, so we thought it would be a good opportunity for everyone to come together. 

"Unfortunately, this seems like a re-occurring thing sometimes, these tragic events. This is not the first time we've done a special prayer."

The special prayer service will be done in both English and Arabic, said Khan, "so everyone can benefit from the words that will be spoken tonight."

The Muslim community in Winnipeg is about 10,000 strong and includes many people who are from Egypt or have Egyptian heritage, including two members of the board of the Islamic association, said Khan.

"[We were] surprised, especially in a place of worship, where people bring their families, their wives, their kids. But at the same time it's good to come together as a community, in any faith or any cultural group. That's the one thing we need, is to come together and find a way to process this tragedy.

"We don't want our fellow Manitoba Egyptians, or even Canadian Egyptians, to feel like they're alone and that this is taking place and that no one is really affected by it. But we are."

For those who can't attend tonight's prayer ceremony, Khan asked people to show their support through personal prayer or on social media.

"It was really nice to see that the mayor even had the Winnipeg sign in Egyptian colours, I believe? That was a nice token of support and leadership in the community."

With files from The Associated Press