VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Dozens gathered at Vancouver’s Al Jamia Masjid Mosque on 8th Avenue to honour those killed in last night’s shooting in Quebec City in a candlelight vigil.
More and more people gathered, spilling into the streets, causing the police to block off the road between Ash and Heather.
Amar just moved to Canada from Pakistan and attended the vigil. He said he had intended to bring his young son to pray with him tonight, but the after last night’s massacre, he decided to make sure his son was safe at home.
“I’m actually scared,” he says following the shooting. “Even my father from back home messaged me saying ‘Don’t go to the mosque to pray.'”
Amar says he went to the mosque to pay respect to members of his religious community.
— Lasia Kretzel (@lkretzel) January 31, 2017
“Those are my brothers. I cannot even begin to imagine what they would’ve gone through. They were in their place of worship where they were worshiping God. We all worship the same God and they just got fired [at]. It’s unbelievable,” Amar tells NEWS 1130.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what their families would be going through, what their kids are going to… [I just want to] remember them in my prayers and ask for their forgiveness. And whoever did this, their forgiveness as well.”
City dignitaries also attended the vigil.
“It’s unthinkable that this has happened in our country and it’s a difficult, I know, for all of us, particularly those among us who are brothers and sister of islamic faith,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson, adding people will continue to gather together and build strength.
“We don’t want to see the world go this way.”
Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer told those in attendance Canada, and Vancouver, are places of acceptance.
“When I was at home last night with my wife and my two children and I saw the news reports start to come in and the reports that I get as a police officer as well outlining the circumstances, I can tell you that no matter how long I’ve been in this business, there are certain things that still shake you to the core and that you never get used to, and you can never understand. The senseless violence that happened last night in a place of worship where innocent people were praying, in a place of safety, for such violence to occur is just absolutely intolerable, unspeakable,” says Palmer.
“From different faiths, different religions, different countries, different backgrounds, we all move to this great country, to this great city and we live together in peace and harmony.”
He added the outpouring of love and support is very special for everyone in the community.
This vigil was one of many held across the country, including one in Quebec City that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 31, 2017