A boisterous crowd gathered on the steps of city hall in freezing weather Friday to hold a multi-faith vigil for the victims of the Quebec City mosque massacre.
Around 100 to 150 Calgarians from different faiths and backgrounds gathered in a demonstration of solidarity and to honour the six men killed Sunday night in Quebec. The gathering was just one of several held Friday in Calgary and throughout the week that included community and faith leaders.
Hiba Fadol said while she’s never personally encountered discrimination in Calgary, she’s aware of many others who have.
“I think it’s important for people to recognize, it’s not just south of the border, it’s also here in our own backyard and we’ve seen the horrific way it’s escalated, just this past Sunday,” said Fadol, who attended Friday’s vigil on behalf of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
“It’s important for us not to be complacent and to try to do better.”
Coun. Brian Pincott, who spoke on behalf of the mayor at Friday’s vigil, pointed out Calgary’s special connection to Quebec as an official sister city.
“We can’t sit back and be holier than thou about how wonderful we are as a country because we have multiculturalism,” Pincott said.
“We actually have to be vocal about it. We have to take action. We have to call out hatred and xenophobia when we see it. I think we’ve had a pretty significant wakeup call in our country.”
Earlier in the day memorial services were held for large crowds at the Genesis Centre where Imam Syed Soharwardy led prayers for those gathered. Faith leaders from Jewish and Christian sects were also in attendance.
Marian Hatcher who attended the vigil Friday said it’s important that non-Muslims stand in solidarity their Muslim neighbours.
“Something has been sparked in people and they think it’s alright to revert back to hate. It’s a de-evolution that we cannot allow to happen. We have to come here to be present and show that we love people,” Hatcher said.