London, Ont. stands in solidarity after Muslims gunned down in Quebec shooting
Religious leaders gathered to share their support after 6 killed at Quebec mosque
In the wake of a Sunday night shooting that left six Muslim worshippers in Quebec dead, communities across the country mourned the tragedy.
Six people were killed and 19 were wounded in the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec in Quebec City. One suspect is in custody.
- Quebec premier, Muslim leaders denounce deadly mosque attack
Hundreds gathered outside the London Muslim Mosque on Monday to show their support, while leaders in Windsor spoke out about the devastating killings.
Similar events were held across Canada, including in Calgary where the country's first Muslim mayor, Naheed Nenshi, offered a prayer for the victims.
The London event featured speeches from various religious leaders, politicians and police who spoke of the importance of standing up against violence.
"Muslims are not a community apart, they are my next door neighbours, they are my dentist, they are the shop keepers down the street at my neighbourhood store," said Rabbi Debra Dressler. "They are my friends."
Religious officials decried hate and stressed the importance of loving your neighbour in speeches that drew cheers from the crowd.
Growing crowd outside <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ldnont?src=hash">#ldnont</a> mosque for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LondonStandsWithMuslims?src=hash">#LondonStandsWithMuslims</a> <a href="https://t.co/sP0JWFbNFT">pic.twitter.com/sP0JWFbNFT</a>—@kerrymckee50
Dr. Maher El-Masri, chairman of the Windsor Islamic Council, says it's disheartening to see the hatred that led to the killings.
He was in a meeting discussing Muslim travel bans introduced in the U.S. over the weekend, when he learned about the shootings.
"We mourn the loss of life, but we are also sad that our sense of security is threatened," El-Masri said.
Mayor Matt Brown denounced what he called "a terrible, selfish, hateful thing that happened in Quebec," and said the city's mosque would always be a safe and loving place.
Although no direct threats had been made towards the city, officers were stationed outside London's Muslim school, resource centre and mosque Monday morning, explained London Police Services Deputy Chief Daryl Longworth.
"We ... were there to show our support, to show our ongoing vigilance in keeping this community and every segment of this community safe and secure," he explained.
Imam Munir El-Kassem, chaplain for London's Muslim officers, said he had been in close contact with the Islamic community in Quebec City throughout Sunday night and was "devastated" by the killing.
In speaking with the Imam from the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec, El-Kassem said he was reminded of a lesson from the Koran.
"He told me a good deed and a bad deed are never equal to each other," the chaplain explained. "You can repel a bad deed with something good."
Rowan, Jessica and Lucas Everett arrive at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ldnont?src=hash">#ldnont</a> mosque for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LondonStandsWithMuslims?src=hash">#LondonStandsWithMuslims</a> <a href="https://t.co/tohRyculCa">pic.twitter.com/tohRyculCa</a>—@kerrymckee50
El-Kassem said the gathering was proof that "different is beautiful" and thanked the community for its outpouring of support.
"We represent Canada," Imam Abd Fatah Twakkal, head of Islamic affairs for the mosque, called to the crowd. "Your message is speaking loud and clear to those who want to divide us or those who want to spread hate or those who want to spread violence. We — in one single resounding voice — say No."
On Monday afternoon, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens announced a candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who died in Quebec City would be held at city hall at 7 p.m.