Northerners launch show of support after Quebec mosque shooting
People gathered outside Iqaluit mosque; Yellowknife, Whitehorse to hold similar evening gatherings
Northerners are joining Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in condemning the Quebec City mosque attack that shocked Canadians on Sunday.
In Iqaluit, residents gathered at the city's only mosque Monday after noon ET to remember the six men who died in the shooting during evening prayers at the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec on Sunday.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/iqaluit?src=hash">#iqaluit</a>. Hold hands around the mosque to show your love and denounce the killings in Quebec. Noon.—@Laakkuluk
Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory is a member of the Qanaq Collective, which organized the gathering.
"Nunavut and Iqaluit and the Arctic, we really truly believe in community and working together and in love and we need to show this in the face of great hate and tragedy," she said.
"I am thankful for them for their solidarity and support," said Muhammad Wani, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Nunavut.
In Yukon, people in Whitehorse gathered at a vigil at the Wharf at the corner of Main Street and Front Street at 5 p.m. PT.
"We have to be very clear that this kind of hostility is not welcome in Canadian society," said Julia Duchesne, one of the organizers. "And we have a lot of work to do to make this country safe for everybody."
In a statement, deputy Yukon premier Ranj Pillai condemned the attack.
"As we reflect on the tumultuous events of this past weekend right across North America, we are shocked and horrified by the killings at a place of worship in Quebec City," the statement says.
"On behalf of Yukon citizens, we send our heartfelt condolences to the victims' families and friends. We stand with all Canadians in condemning this act of terrorism and all actions that seek to divide us."
Some Muslims in Inuvik, N.W.T., found out about the attack during Sunday evening prayers.
Abdullah Mohamed, president of the Muslim Association of Inuvik, said Monday his members have always felt safe in the community, and hope the attack is an isolated incident.
"In Inuvik here, we are family," Mohamed said. "We never felt any kind of animosity against the Muslim community."
Nazim Awan, chairperson of the Islamic Centre of Yellowknife, which has nearly 300 members, says the mosque is opening to the public after evening prayers at around 5:15 p.m. MT because, he says, more knowledge and understanding are what's needed to avoid violence and hate.
"If we are not open, it will not open the line of communication and people will be believing in such things which may not be true, and that will not help anybody."
News of the shooting prompted angry words as well.
Julie Green, the N.W.T. MLA representing Yellowknife Centre, suggested a direct link between the Quebec City shootings and U.S. President Donald Trump's controversial decision to close the United States to refugees and people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
This is Trump's doing. He has encouraged people to hate Muslims. Sad and wrong. <a href="https://t.co/1AWQ1FRNTE">https://t.co/1AWQ1FRNTE</a>—@juliegreenMLA
Saturday saw some Northern politicians react in disbelief to the travel ban.
Canada and Yellowknife will always welcome people from around the world seeking better lives, as they did my mom and dad. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WelcometoCanada?src=hash">#WelcometoCanada</a>—@MarkHeyck
with files from John Van Dusen, Mitch Wiles, Mackenzie Scott