Vancouverites show solidarity with Muslims stunned by Quebec mosque mass shooting

January 31, 2017

By Douglas Todd and Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun |

About 100 people attended a candlelight vigil at the Vancouver Jamia Masjid mosque late Monday to show solidarity with the Muslim community still in shock after Sunday’s mosque massacre in Quebec.

“All of us feel the pain, sadness and outrage at what happened …,” Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson told the crowd.

“It’s unthinkable that this could happen in our country. In their (Muslims’) time of need, we need to support them.”

Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer said “Vancouver continues to be a safe city and we have no specific concerns about Vancouver as a result of this incident”.

Also addressing the crowd was Mufti Aasim Rashid and Rabbi Philip Bregman — one of two rabbis addressing the crowd — who said “Unless you’re an aboriginal, we’re all refugees in this land.”

Earlier in the day, Haroon Khan, 46, a trustee of the Al Jamia Masjid mosque on the 600-block of West 8th Ave. told Postmedia News that Muslims realize the vast majority of Canadians are not hostile toward them.

“I would say 99 per cent of Canadians are not hostile to Muslims,” said Khan. “It’s a tragedy for everybody. We’re upset and some are angry, but we’re not scared.”

A Laval University student, Alexandre Bissonnette, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder in relation to the Quebec mosque shooting.

Farida Ali Bano said she and about 750 others first heard about the massacre while attending a Sunday night event marking the 50-year anniversary of the B.C. Muslim Association, which represents the province’s Sunni Muslims, who make up about half the province’s roughly 100,000 Muslims.

“It was devastating. Here we were, celebrating the joy of our organization’s anniversary, when we received the sad news,” said Bano, who is chair of the women’s council of the BCMA.

Bano believes U.S. President Donald Trump’s weekend executive order to temporarily suspend all immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries reflects an “extreme” position that can incite the kind of hatred that led to the Quebec shooting.

“It’s all causing more chaos than usual. But we cannot paint the whole world with one brush,” Bano said.

Aasim Rashid, who represents the Al Ihsan Educational Foundation, said most Canadians do not feel antagonism to Muslims.

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