News / Vancouver

B.C. mourns one year since Islamophobic Quebec mosque massacre

Forum and vigil held Saturday, another planned for Vancouver Monday as Islamophobia decried and legislature lit green

People look at messages of sympathy during a gathering at the Centre Islamique de Quebec, marking the first anniversary of the mosque shooting, Saturday, January 27, 2018 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

Jacques Boissinot / The Canadian Press

People look at messages of sympathy during a gathering at the Centre Islamique de Quebec, marking the first anniversary of the mosque shooting, Saturday, January 27, 2018 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

British Columbia's legislature will light up green after dark Monday evening to express the province's "shock and horror" on the one year anniversary of a white supremacist murdering six worshippers praying at a Quebec City mosque.

But Premier John Horgan said the anniversary of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City attack is also a reminder about the urgency of combatting hatred.

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"We stand with the Muslim community and every British Columbian attending vigils, sending prayers and taking action to fight hate, bigotry and Islamophobia," he stated, calling the Jan. 29, 2017 massacre a "terrorist attack" and expressing "shock and horror in the aftermath" of the attack that killed six men "cruelly taken from their friends, their families and their communities."

Vancouverites attended a vigil in Victory Square Park downtown Saturday, following an afternoon panel discussion of Islamophobia organized by the Coalition Against Bigotry Pacific. The group is planning another vigil next Saturday in Surrey's Holland Park at 4 p.m.

Messages of support appear on a local mosque in Toronto after a Jan. 29, 2017 massacre by a gunman in Quebec.

Eduardo Lima/Metro

Messages of support appear on a local mosque in Toronto after a Jan. 29, 2017 massacre by a gunman in Quebec.

They're just a few of the dozens of events across Canada to mark the grim occasion, with many listed on the National Council of Canadian Muslims website.

And a new French and English interactive social media project is asking Canadians to share where they were and what they remember of Jan. 29 using the hashtag #RememberJan29.

And on Monday evening, the anniversary of the massacre will be marked at Vancouver's Al Jamia mosque — honouring the memories of the six killed: Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzeddine Soufiane, Aboubaker Thabti.

One of Monday's vigil planners, Noor Fadel, experienced an Islamophobic attack on the SkyTrain last year. In an earlier interview, Fadel told Metro the vigil is also a reminder that more needs to be done in Canada.

Noor Fadel told Metro that she felt empowered after she performed her poem I Forgive You at the women's March on Vancouver on Jan. 20, 2018.

Tessa Vikander/Metro

Noor Fadel told Metro that she felt empowered after she performed her poem I Forgive You at the women's March on Vancouver on Jan. 20, 2018.

Fadel, who is a member of Voices of Muslim Women, said declaring Jan. 29 as a national anti-Islamophobia day would be "a next step into being able to take awareness and accountability that, 'Yes, this is happening,' and we do have to come up with ways to take action against it."

In November, Metro reported that British Columbia saw a nearly 30 per cent uptick in hate crimes targeting racial and ethnic minorities and other groups over the last year. According to Statistics Canada data released Tuesday, the number of B.C. hate-motivated crimes reported in 2016 rose to 211 — 47 more incidents than in 2015.

Voices of Muslim Women and the Pakistan Canada Association are hosting a vigil Monday to mark one year since the deadly Quebec City massacre, 7 p.m. at Vancouver's Al Jamia mosque (655 West 8 Ave.), with the support of Masjid Al Jamia, Islam Unravelled and the National Council of Canadian Muslims. More info online.

With files from Tessa Vikander

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