Hundreds from across Canada gathered around mosques to form the protective barriers described by organizers as “human shields” and “rings of peace” – as Muslims, in the country marked their first Friday prayer as an armed man has shot dead six men who prayed in Quebec mosque.
“No Canadian should be afraid to go to their house of worship to pray,” Yael Splansky, rabbi behind the efforts to put in place “rings of peace” in the Toronto area mosques told the Canadian Press. “This is a terrible scene. Imagine people of faith to go and pray in peace, to pray for peace, and to be at risk. The places of worship are sacred and should be protected.”
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Hundreds of people in Toronto – many of them belonging to local synagogues, churches and temples stood shoulder to shoulder outside of the seven mosques in the city on Friday mid-day prayers. In Ottawa and Edmonton, similar “rings of peace” have been put up around local mosques.
The idea was inspired by a group of Muslims in Oslo, said Splansky. In 2015, the Jewish communities across Europe have been reeling under the shock of the attacks anti-semitic in France and in Denmark, the Muslims organized in order to mount the guard around the synagogue in Oslo, while those provided to the interior of Sabbath prayers.
In Newfoundland, Friday, hundreds gathered to form a “human shield” to protect the Muslims, to the province of the only mosque in Saint-Jean. Speaking to the crowd, and Syed Pirzada of the Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, said the Muslim community had been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support they had received in recent days.
The Jewish part of the chain of solidarity around the mosque, while the Muslims are praying inside. #ringsofpeace ##ringofpeace pic.twitter.com/tR2VNfY6Aj
February 3, 2017
“Although this tragedy irreparable toll on the Muslims across the country, the kindness and generosity of his fellow Canadians has been a great source of comfort,” said Pirzada. “Canada has spoken: no hatred, no bigotry, no to religious violence, not intolerance.”
Thousands from across Canada gathered to condemn the actions of a man who walked into a mosque in the City of Quebec, on Sunday and opened fire, killing six people and injuring 19 others. Two remain in a critical condition.
The attack was described by the prime minister of the country as an act of terror.
Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old university student, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and another five counts of attempted murder. Those who have known Bissonnette described as pro-Donald Trump, the fight against immigration and the sympathy for the extreme right.
The funeral took place this week in Quebec City and Montreal for the period of six victims. Thousands have come to pay homage to the men – remember, as devoted fathers who longed to give their children a bright future in Canada.
“It is with a heavy heart that we come together this afternoon to mourn the loss of these innocent lives,” Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, said at the funeral in Montreal, Thursday. “But as a community, as a country, we will rise from this darkness stronger and more united than ever – that’s who we are.”
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But reports have emerged of a mosque that had been vandalized just miles from the spot where the burial took place. A window to the Masjid Khadijah Islamic Centre had been smashed and the front door splattered with eggs, in an act described as “terrorist” by a city councillor.
“It is an action of the intent of inciting fear into the heart of a community, the demonstration of hatred and animosity,” Craig Sauvé, wrote on Facebook. “I don’t know who you think you are, you cowardly, small-minded xenophobe who has done this, but you do not speak for the community,” he added.
Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. Montreal police said that they had seen an increase in reported hate crimes in the days following the shooting, with 29 reports received by the last count on Wednesday.