Ottawa vigil for Quebec City mosque shooting anniversary taking place Sunday
A vigil to mark the sixth anniversary of the mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City will be held in Ottawa Sunday at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street.
On Jan. 29, 2017, a gunman entered the Quebec City Islamic cultural centre just after evening prayers and opened fire. He murdered six men and injured five others.
The victims' names are Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.
The gunman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 40 years. His sentence was reduced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years after a 2022 Supreme Court ruling.
Last year, a scheduled vigil to mark the anniversary in Ottawa was cancelled because of the arrival of the 'Freedom Convoy' protest. The group Canadians United Against Hate had planned to hold an interfaith candlelight vigil at the human rights monument on Elgin Street but said it was moved online as thousands of anti-public health mandate and anti-government protesters descended on the city.
"Muslims and non-Muslim allies in the Ottawa region are thankful that they will have the freedom to come together to mark this occasion this coming Sunday and remember the six men who where murdered by a white supremacist while worshipping in the Quebec City mosque in 2017," said Fareed Khan, founder of Canadians United Against Hate in a recent news release.
In Quebec City, the date will be marked for the first time in the mosque's prayer room where the murders took place. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several other federal and Quebec governent figures are scheduled to attend. Premier Francois Legault has said he will be unable to attend because of familial obligations.
Jan. 29 now also marks the National Day of Remembrance of the Québec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia. Last week, Trudeau named Ottawa-based human rights advocate and journalist Amira Elghawaby as Canada's first special representative on combating Islamophobia.
Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe said in a statement on social media that he is committing his support to the national effort to eradicate Islamophobia, hate and racism from Canada.
A previous version of this article said Quebec Premier Francois Legault was expected to attend the vigil in Quebec City Sunday, but he has in fact said he would not be available.
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