A Quebec flag with the word “Open” written on it is shown in remembrance of six victims of a shooting at mosque during a vigil in Quebec City on January 30, 2017. Events are being held Wednesday in Quebec City to mark the third anniversary of the deadly mosque shooting that claimed six lives. Organizers from the citizens group “We remember January 29” said the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre where the killings occurred will open its doors to the community this afternoon, with a dinner and speeches later at an area church. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Solemn events to mark third anniversary of deadly Quebec City mosque shooting

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty to the killings and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for 40 years

Events are being held Wednesday in Quebec City to mark the third anniversary of the deadly mosque shooting that claimed six lives.

Organizers from the citizens group “We remember January 29” said the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre where the killings occurred will open its doors to the community this afternoon, with a dinner and speeches later at an area church.

The group organizing the events is urging Quebec City residents to participate in large numbers — calling the grim occasion a chance to come together and affirm a desire to build an open and inclusive community.

The mosque shooting left six men dead: Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

They left behind their wives and 17 children between them, while several others were injured when the gunman opened fire inside the mosque in the provincial capital’s Ste-Foy district.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged the anniversary by calling on Canadians to honour the memory of the victims by fighting Islamophobia and other forms of hatred and discrimination.

“Today, we mourn those who were senselessly killed, and suffered at the hands of ignorance, Islamophobia, and racism,” Trudeau said in a statement. “We share the pain of their children, spouses, friends, and neighbours, who were robbed of their loved ones far too soon. Our thoughts are also with those injured, whose lives forever changed after this brutal and inhumane attack.”

Boufeldja Benabdallah, president of the mosque, said in a recent interview the local Muslim community has seen many “highs and lows” in the three years since the shooting, but overall things have improved.

He noted that people have resumed their lives and returned to work, finding some serenity.

But while the community has moved forward with announcements like the creation of the region’s first Islamic cemetery and a million-dollar renovation to enlarge and secure the mosque, he said the province’s controversial secularism law casts a cloud.

The law, known as Bill 21, bans some civil servants from wearing religious symbols at work — something Benabdallah said targets Muslims in particular.

“Once again, we feel in the minority and targeted, especially the Muslim woman who finds herself penalized,” Benabdallah said, calling the legislation a significant setback.

Premier Francois Legault, whose government introduced Bill 21, and Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume are scheduled to attend the community dinner.

Last year, the commemoration was held at Universite Laval, while in 2018, there were four days of activities culminating in an outdoor gathering attended by hundreds, including leaders of all federal and provincial parties.

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty to the killings and last year was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for 40 years — a sentence that was the subject of appeals by both the Crown and defence during a hearing at the Quebec Court of Appeal Monday.

READ MORE: Quebec Court of Appeal to hear Alexandre Bissonnette appeals

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Quebec

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone down to 19 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday

Provincially, 158 new COVID-19 cases were identified

Alberta politicians reject throne speech

Premier Kenney disapointed with lack of support for Alberta energy

Wolf Creek Public Schools receive $2.5 M for COVID costs

Funds will largely go towards PPE and additional cleaning, sanitizing

Central zone has 20 active cases of COVID-19

Province identified 143 new cases across Alberta on Wednesday

Sylvan Lake Municipal Library going waste free with new program

The Zero Waste DIY program begins on Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. on Zoom

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Hundreds die from opioid overdoses in Alberta as COVID-19 pandemic hit

Jason Luan said the province is not alone in seeing a rise in deaths,

Wetaskiwin/ Camrose RCMP conduct a joint forces initiative with Camrose Police Service

The multifaceted joint forces initiative with on Sept. 23, 2020 proved very successful.

‘Won’t be gathering for Thanksgiving:’ Trudeau says COVID-19 2nd wave underway

In all, COVID-19 has killed about 9,250 people in Canada

Searchers find bodies in Jasper National Park, remains believed to be missing couple

RCMP along with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner continue to investigate

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Most Read