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Toronto Muslims fear for their safety in wake of Quebec attack

Some GTA mosques are stepping up their security following a shooting Sunday night at mosque in Quebec City.

Vigils are planned for Monday as GTA mosques add security measures

Imam Yusuf Badat says his community doesn't feel safe in the wake of a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that killed six. (Facebook/Yusuf Badat)

A Toronto Imam says Muslims in the city are in a state of shock and grief following a shooting Sunday night at mosque in Quebec City that killed six and injured eight more.

"They're fearing for their security and safety," said Imam Yusuf Badat, speaking to Metro Morning from the Islamic Foundation of Toronto following Monday morning prayers.

Badat said many people attending the mosque this morning were concerned for their children, and how the actions in Quebec could affect them.

"There is a full time Islamic school where we have approximately 700 elementary and middle school children. So what's going to happen to them? Is this going to be repeated? These types of fears are there," Badat said.

Badat told CBC News that safety precautions were being taken at the mosque and the school run by the foundation. At the school, private security was hired and officers from 42 Division were asked to patrol the building. 

School principal Viquar Ahmed said he spent the morning going from class to class, telling students there are "good and bad people in every faith." 

"This is the big thing at our instruction, we try to instill the message of peace and brotherhood among our students. I made it very clear whatever happened yesterday at a Quebec mosque has nothing to do with any faith," he said. 

The children were also kept inside for recess and lunch. 

GTA mosques step up security

The Toronto-based Muslim community Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at Canada is also enhancing security in its mosques around the country. 

"We have volunteer security, members and youth... who are providing security on site," said national spokesperson Safwan Choudhry. "We are informing members to also be on the lookout." 

Safwan Choudhry said the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada was stepping up security at its mosques across the country to help members feel safe while praying. (CBC)

Choudhry said his organization had been in touch with Toronto police to request extra patrols near their GTA mosques. 

Mayor John Tory told CBC News that he has also been speaking to police about the issue. 

"I have spoken with the office of the police chief this morning just to make sure that appropriate arrangements are made to make sure that mosques here are safe," he said. 

Vigils planned Monday evening

Badat says he's seen an outpouring of support from Canadians following the shooting, including messages from friends who practice other religions.

"As Muslims we know how devastating it is to feel the blame of the actions of a few. So as Canadian Muslims we will never ever associate this with a particular religion, or a particular group of people," said Badat.

"We have to stand for human rights and justice here. We are all Canadians, we all want peace and we have to stand shoulder to shoulder."  

Vigils are planned in the Toronto area in honour of the men who were killed. One is set to be held in front of the student centre at Ryerson University, another at the University of Toronto. 

The city of Toronto will also commemorate the victims by dimming the Toronto sign and turning off the lights at city hall Monday evening. 

Metro Morning