UPDATED: CSU Commemorates First Anniversary of Quebec City Mosque Shooting
University Event One of Several Vigils Held Across Montreal
Sometimes shaking, sometimes low, the voices could barely break through the silence. Only the prayers calling for peace were able to pierce through.
This article has been updated.
One year after the shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, the Concordia Student Union organized an interfaith and intergenerational ceremony as part of their anti-racism campaign Monday night.
The ceremony gathered different faith leaders from Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, and interfaith establishments, as well as politicians and members of several Muslim associations from across Montreal. The CSU aimed to unite different backgrounds as the problem of extremism against religions rises.
All faith leaders at the vigil called out for people to learn about different religions and a will to teach others about a religion’s culture and celebrations.
“[The Muslim communities] need as much as possible to create bridges and awareness about who we are because in many cases these attacks are fueled by ignorance.” said Samer Mazjoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum.
The same ignorance has been a concern at the CSU according Ahmed Badr, the union’s external affairs and mobilization coordinator. “We are doing our best to make [Concordia] a safer place,” said Badr.
The CSU have been holding workshops on systemic racism and cybersecurity to ensure that students confronted with racism and discrimination feel safe in the university.
“You feel safe here [at Concordia] because people are represented and are aware,” said Fahad Ali, a first year student. Ali felt empowered by the CSU’s decision to condemn violence and extremism.
“It doesn’t require dead bodies to keep building evidence,” said Juwairiah Mushtaq, a first year student.
Mushtaq described the ceremony as a great place to remember how visible minorities have to think about personal safety in a way other students do not.
Both Sameer Zuberi, a former CSU executive, and Mazjoub separately described the refusal by the provincial government to establish a day against Islamophobia as “a slap in the face.”
Zuberi used Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, a day that commemorates the anniversary of the Polytechnique massacre, as an example, hoping that there will one day be a memorial day for the Quebec City Mosque shooting.
Vigils Held Across the City
Vigils were also held in Notre-Dame De Grace, Mont-Royal, Montreal North, and in front of the Pie-IX Metro station on Monday.
At the Jean Talon Metro station, about 40 Montrealers gathered outside, some holding candles and signs, in remembrance of the lives lost in Quebec City last year.
“What’s interesting is that the commemoration is not happening in a place, but within communities,” said Jaouad, an attendee of the vigil outside Pie-IX, who didn’t want to give his full name for fear of harassment.
“It lets us talk directly to the people and not just addressing the media, or political world,” he said. “Because it’s through the people where we will transform Quebec society.”
With files from Vince Morello and Shannon Carranco