Vigil a symbol of unity held in hearts of Canadians: Regina imam

Vigils took place Monday evening in Saskatoon and Regina for the victims of the mosque shooting in Quebec City.

Vigils held in Victoria Park in Regina and Islamic Association of Sask. in Saskatoon

Mosques used by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community across Canada have seen heightened security, said imam Zeeshan Ahmed. (Glenn Reid/CBC)

Vigils were held Monday evening in Saskatoon and Regina in a show of solidarity for the victims of the mosque shooting in Quebec City.

Six people were killed and many others were injured when a shooter opened fire on worshippers on Sunday night.

The lone suspect in the shooting is 27-year-old Alexandre Bissonette, a Quebec City resident. He is facing six first-degree murder charges in connection with the attack. 

A symbol of unity

The imam said the vigil which took place in Victoria Park symbolized unity and Canadian values. (Glenn Reid/CBC)

Zeeshan Ahmed, an imam for the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in Regina, condemned the attack, calling it a sad event.

"It got to a lot of people's hearts," Ahmed said. 

Ahmed believes the attack is an isolated incident and it should be used to look to the future and become stronger.

"This vigil is a symbol of our unity that we hold in our hearts as Canadians," Ahmed said, adding it was a symbol of the community coming together as one and exemplifying true Canadian values.

Across Canada, security has been heightened at Ahmadiyya Muslim mosques — Regina included, he said.

"It is necessary because it sends a message that we are vigilant," Ahmed said. "To us, our security is very important. Not just as Muslims worshipping in a mosque, but it should be any place of worship."

Ahmed is overwhelmed by the support the community has received from the surrounding community. 

"My heart is full of thankfulness for everybody in Regina. We all are humans at the end of the day. Coming together for anybody, it's an outstanding gesture."

It could happen to anyone

Daniel Khulen, with the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan, said the organization has received many emails of support for the Muslim community. 

"It's been heartening that there has been so many people that have come forward to express solidarity," Khulen said. 

"This event happened against Muslims. Another event might happen against Jews or against Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists or the First Nations community."

Regina's vigil began at 6 p.m. CST in Victoria Park. At 8 p.m., the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan's centre at 3273 Montague St. hosted prayers.

The vigil in Saskatoon was held at the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan's centre there (222 Copland Cres.) at 7:45.

Two other events will be held in the coming days in Saskatoon. The first is a vigil that will be held at City Hall on Tuesday and will begin at 6 p.m. The second event is a question and answer symposium that will be held at the University of Saskatchewan campus on Wednesday, held by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students' Association.