Surrey City Hall is flying its flag at half mast, while various community groups are forming to remember those killed in a tragic shooting at a mosque in Quebec on the weekend.
On Sunday at 8 p.m., someone entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City and opened fire on the all-male prayer session.
Six people were killed and two other are in critical, but stable condition.
Surrey was quick to respond by lowering the city hall flag to half mast on Monday morning, and Mayor Linda Hepner had already been in contact with members of the B.C. Muslim Association.
Hepner had also spoken with Surrey’s Chief Superintendent of the RCMP, who assured her the Mounties have already been in contact with eight local mosques, have scheduled site visits and will increase patrols.
Hepner was shocked at the wanton act of violence in Quebec.
“Diversity, tolerance and freedom of religion are the bedrock of a civilized global city and country,” Hepner said. “And I was frankly horrified to hear what happened in Quebec.”
She said she is reaching out to the mayor of Quebec to offer her condolences.
In addition, a group called Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation, is organizing a vigil on Friday, Feb. 3 from 5-7 p.m. at Surrey’s Holland Park.
The purpose of the event is to show solidarity with the victims’ families and to bring together groups with diverse beliefs with one common cause.
“Our sincere hope is to protect and help our communities cope and build resilience in a rapidly changing world characterized with high levels of extremism,” said co-organizer Suzanne Hayat. “We feel that no one has the right to take away a person’s spiritual free will and self-determination, nor their underlying strength, and we are doing everything within our power to fight for peace and condemn this horrific attack.”
The organization of a vigil comes days after a call to action against a U.S. immigration ban.
It also comes just after about 1,000 people gather in protest at the Peace Arch Border crossing to voice objection to that ban.