Quebec City to hold vigil on anniversary of fatal mosque shooting

A number of commemorative events will be held on the anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting that killed six people, January 29.

A march and ceremony will honour the 6 men who died Jan. 29, 2017

People paid their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Quebec City mosque following the Jan. 29, 2017 shooting. Events will be held this week to mark the anniversary. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

One year after the Quebec City mosque shooting that killed six men, a vigil and a Muslim prayer ceremony will be held in honour of the victims.

Organizers say it will be an opportunity to show support for the victims' families and those traumatized by the January 29 attack.

In the days leading up the vigil, two prayer ceremonies will be held in Quebec City.

On Jan. 26, 2018, a Muslim prayer ceremony will be held at the mosque where the shooting took place. This event will be closed to the public.

Two days later, a multi-faith prayer ceremony will be open to anyone who wants to attend. It will be held at the Expocité Youth Pavilion.

On the actual anniversary, citizens are invited to participate in a vigil where they will march to the site of the mosque in silence and place flowers and candles.

In October, a tree memorial and plaque was donated in honour of the six men who died during the attack on Jan. 29, 2017. (Julia Page/CBC)

Mosque co-founder Boufeldjah Benabdallah says he hopes the commemorative events will help bring the community that much closer.

"We will remember, and pray to our Lord to give each of us the compassion we need so that we can be stronger tomorrow," said Benabdallah.

A solemn occasion

The events will honour the memories of Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Azzeddine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane and Aboubaker Thabti who died when a shooter entered the mosque where they were attending evening prayers.

The men, all of whom were fathers, left a total of 17 children.

Accused gunman Alexandre Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm. He is currently awaiting trial.

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said the organizers of the event have the full support of his administration and that he hoped the commemorations would help the city to heal.

"We hope these events will be carried out in a solemn fashion and that they will allow for remembrance, in honour of the six victims," he said. "Their memory will remain forever engraved on our collective memory."

Politicians from all levels of government payed their respects at the funeral services held in Montreal February 2. (Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

During the announcement, Labeaume refused to address how hate crimes that have targeted Muslims or recent marches in favour of a "secular Quebec" could affect the event preparations.

He said that there will be sufficient security measures in place and that police have already begun to plan.

With files from Catou MacKinnon, Radio-Canada