About 100 people gathered at the Place des Arts in Montreal to honor the memory of the four victims of the June 6 terrorist attack in London, Ontario, and to condemn hatred and Islamophobia.
“I would like it to be here in a festive atmosphere, but, unfortunately, it’s not so,” began Samira Lauini, one of the organizers of the event, at the microphone in front of the gathered people.
There were no candles and few signs, but the emotions were palpable. Between shock, outrage and anger, the Muslim community is struggling to understand how it is feeling.
After the crowd observed a minute of silence, several speakers made speeches: organizers, imams, rabbis, involved citizens or politicians. Then several times people on the spot chanted: “No to hate! ”
When she found out about the tragedy, Samira Launi immediately remembered the attack on a large mosque in Quebec in 2017. “We immediately plunged into this period,” she recalls.
Founded in Quebec since 1998, the latter has seen a rise in hatred of the Muslim community. She explains such growth by prejudice, ignorance of the Muslim religion, social networks and the darknet.
” [On a l’impression que] the more we work to eradicate this hatred, the stronger this hatred, ”says one who is also the founder of COR, an organization dedicated to intercultural reconciliation.
“Hatred has become like cancer, worse than the COVID-19 virus. We found a vaccine for COVID-19, but not for hatred, ”she adds.
As for Civil Rights Movement spokesman Kamel Mohamed, he admits he was “shocked” when he learned of the attack. He hopes that the government will recognize the existence of Islamophobia in society and that the government will act to regulate hatred of all visible communities.
The event is organized by several organizations working to raise awareness of Islamophobia and racism.
On Sunday evening, four members of the same Pakistani family were killed in a car ram in London, Ontario. The assailant has so far faced four first-degree murder charges and one attempted murder charge.
A similar vigil took place on Tuesday in London, when thousands of people gathered in front of the mosque.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke Tuesday during a speech in the House of Commons, calling the attack “a terrorist attack motivated by hatred at the very heart of our communities.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan also condemned the attack on his Twitter account on Tuesday. “I am sad to hear of the murder of a Canadian Muslim family of Pakistani origin in London, Ontario. This reprehensible terrorist act is indicative of the rise of Islamophobia in Western countries. The international community must comprehensively fight Islamophobia, ”he wrote.