Ottawa Muslims remember those killed in New Zealand as they gather for Friday prayers
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Friday, March 22, 2019 5:46PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, March 22, 2019 6:29PM EDT
The 50 souls who died in a bloody massacre in New Zealand a week ago were on the minds of Muslims everywhere as they gathered today for Friday prayers.
For many, it was the first opportunity to grieve as a group and try to move forward from the horrors of last week.
In the Toronto area, members of the Jewish community formed a ring of peace around mosques in a show of solidarity.
Here in Ottawa mosques opened their doors in an effort to shut down the rise in Islamophobia.
In New Zealand today, one week after that horrific massacre thousands of people converged in a park across from the mosque where dozens died. They were joining Muslims in prayer. Among them was the country's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“The believers in their mutual kindness and sympathy are just like one body,” Ardern said, “When any part of the body suffers, the whole body feels pain.”
A moment of silence was followed by a call to prayer, something echoed around the world including here in Ottawa. As Muslims gathered inside to pray at a room in the Sandy Hill Community Centre, Mamoon Malik was thinking about whether he should be standing outside as a lookout. Malik served 41 years with the Canadian Forces and works with National Defence now. That military training was kicking in.
“I think in today's day and age, even in Canada, we need some caution,” he said, “It doesn't have to be armed guards but some caution is needed.”
Some congregants at mosques across Canada are calling for armed guards after New Zealand's attack.
‘‘I hope it never comes to that,” Saib Ahmad said as he attended prayers at the Sandy Hill Community Centre, “because I'd never want to see armed guards at any places of worship across Canada.”
Imam Luqman Ahmed, with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Ottawa agrees and hopes to counter fear with mutual respect.
So something good comes out of this tragedy,” he said, “that we come out of this tragedy more united and more ready to combat hate in any way that it may come in front of us.”
There are already signs of that. In the Greater Toronto area, hundreds of members of the Jewish community formed a ring of peace around mosques as a barrier to keep out the hate.
“Certainly it's Jews standing for Muslims,” one participant said, “but it's really human being standing for human beings.”
Sadly, as a sign of the times, a seminar is being held Saturday in Ottawa to teach civilians how to survive terrorist attacks like the one in New Zealand. The course was sold out within a week of being announced.