Canadian leaders to Muslims: ‘Today we are all Muslims’
Canada’s religious, civic and political leaders are offering condolences to the Muslim community following the mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City on Sunday night.
“We will say, as our Prime Minister has said to every single Muslim member of the Canadian family, today we are all Muslims, we stand with you and we will never let there be daylight between a Christian, a Jew, a Sikh, an atheist and a Muslim in this country. We are Canadians and we stand together in love,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May in her tribute in the House of Commons.
A few dozen people were inside Centre Culturel Islamque de Québec (the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec) in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City for the evening prayers when the shooting began just before 8 p.m. Quebec provincial police say six people were killed in the shooting incident.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered words of support to Canadian Muslims, saying that “36 million hearts are breaking with yours.”
“You enrich our shared country in immeasurable ways, it is your home,” Prime Minister Trudeau said. “Last night’s horrible crime against the Muslim community was an act of terror committed against Canada and against all Canadians.”
Religious leaders across the country have been sending messages of solidarity to the Muslim community.
“To our Muslim sisters and brothers in Quebec City, in the province of Quebec, and across Canada, our member churches are with you. We grieve with you. We stand with you,” said Canon Dr. Alyson Barnett-Cowan, President, the Canadian Council of Churches in a statement. “We recommit ourselves to opposing the hate and prejudice that disfigures our communities and leads to violence both at home and abroad.”
“Similarly, we recommit ourselves to protecting and advancing the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion for all Canadians: to worship in peace and safety and to live out the demands of our conscience and religion together in community,” added Dr. Barnett-Cowan. “May God comfort those who mourn today, and lead us into justice and peace.”
The Toronto Board of Rabbis issued a statement condemning the mass killing and offered support to the Muslim community.
“We as a community condemn this heinous deed,” said Rabbi Debra Landsberg, President Toronto Board of Rabbis. “Our tradition emphasizes the sanctity of human life, reminding us that the taking of one life is akin to destroying an entire world.”
“Such violence is intended to instill fear and to sunder the bonds that bind the people of this country,” added Rabbi Landsberg. “Standing arm-in-arm with all Canadians of goodwill, let us resolve to redouble our commitment to our shared life in Canada, through small acts of decency bringing succor to the afflicted; let us insist that life here will not be overturned through the spilling of blood.”
“We express our condolences to the families of those murdered, and we pray for a complete healing for the numerous individuals injured in this attack. To the members of the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec and to our Muslim neighbors throughout Canada we offer our deepest sympathy and support.”
“Such a despicable act must be condemned by all Canadians as an affront to our humanity and the values of our nation,” said Albert Lo, Chair of the Board, Canadian Race Relations Foundation. ‘That this cold-blooded attack took place in a place of worship, targeting people at prayer, only adds to our collective revulsion. We are confident that our law enforcement agencies will thoroughly investigate this tragedy and ensure that those responsible for this heinous crime are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“At this time, our thoughts are with the families of those who were murdered and with those who have been injured in the attack,” said Anita Bromberg, Executive Director CRRF. “We must stand united against those who seek to shatter the peace we strive for across our nation.”
[Photo credit: Jeff Reilly; Message at a downtown Dartmouth, Nova Scotia church, today]