TUESDAY marks the second anniversary of the horrific, Islamophobic attack on the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec (CCIQ) in Quebec City. The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), along with Canadians across the country, is honouring the memory of the six Muslim men brutally murdered and 19 others injured on January 29, 2017, when a gunman entered the mosque and opened fire on worshipers after evening prayers.
The names of the six victims are Azzedine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry.
“Our hearts are with the families of the victims and the broader CCIQ community as they remember their loved ones. We hope their pain is eased in some small way by knowing that Canadians from all walks of life are sending peace and comfort to them on this very difficult day,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.
Tuesday’s two-year memorial events come just one week before the sentencing of the man who carried out the shooting, Alexandre Bissonnette. Bissonnette is scheduled to be sentenced in a Quebec court on February 8, 2019.
“As we commemorate this day, we not only remember those who were cruelly taken two years ago, but we also commit to looking ahead to how we can continue creating an increasingly peaceful and just Canada where people from all faith and non-faith backgrounds feel safe and welcome. To this end, we reiterate our unwavering stand against all forms of hate, intolerance and racism that would seek to divide us,” says Gardee.
The NCCM continues to call upon the federal government to designate January 29 as a National Day of Action Against Hate and Intolerance as a way to remember the victims and show solidarity with other communities affected by hatred, bigotry and racism, including Islamophobia.
PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau issued the following statement:
“Two years ago tonight, six people were killed and nineteen others were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy.
“On this anniversary, I join Canadians across the country to grieve those we lost and honour their memory. We hold the victims in our hearts, along with their families and loved ones, and all those whose lives were marked by this tragedy.
“We also recognize the heroes and first responders who saved lives that night and answered this act of hatred with courage. In the days and weeks that followed, Québec City – and communities across the country – did the same. Canadians came together to stand with our country’s Muslim communities, uniting in solidarity and hope.
“Today, we continue to speak with one voice: Islamophobia, hate, and discrimination have no place here or anywhere. We will never allow fear to divide us, and we will always defend the values that make us strong – openness, inclusion, equality, and the freedom to practice religion in safety and peace.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I ask all Canadians to pause today and remember the victims. They will stay in our hearts and memories forever.”
B.C. PREMIER John Horgan said in a statement:
“Two years ago, people across the country were devastated by the news of a terrorist attack on a Quebec City mosque that claimed the lives of six men and injured many others.
“Today, we honour the lives of Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane and Aboubaker Thabti, who were taken, so cruelly, from their friends, families and community.
“People killed because of their religious beliefs, attacked in a place of worship, was a profound violation felt by people in communities across Canada and around the world.
“As we mourn together with the Muslim community, we stand together against racism, bigotry and Islamophobia in all of its forms.
“The values of equality, diversity and mutual respect are part of who we are. Our government will continue to stand up for those values and work to build a better, more inclusive province for everyone in every community.”
ONTARIO PREMIER Doug Ford issued the following statement:
“Today, we join our neighbours in Quebec and Muslim communities across Canada in a moment of silence to remember the victims of the horrific terrorist attack in Quebec City. Two years ago, Canadians from across the country watched in shock and horror as this tragedy unfolded, and then stood united as a country against ignorance, bigotry and hatred.
“One’s freedom to worship without fear is one of our most important freedoms, and it must be cherished and defended. This attack on a place of worship was an attack on that freedom.
As the families gather together today to mourn, know that we join them in remembrance and grief. To our Muslim friends and neighbours, know that our government will always fight intolerance, defend our religious freedoms and work to ensure that this never happens again.”