SURREY — A Surrey vigil for victims of Quebec’s mosque shooting is set for Friday at Holland Park.
Organized by Surrey-based Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation (ATCF), the event aims to “protect and help our communities cope and build resilience in a rapidly changing world characterized with high levels of extremism,” according to a release.
Early reports indicate six people were killed and five more are in critical condition after an attack at the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec Sunday night. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has condemned the incident “a terrorist attack on Muslims.”
Sikandar Hayat said ACTF, a child advocacy organization, decided to plan the prayer vigil because many families were affected by the horrific incident. According a local Muslim community leader in Quebec Ben Abdullah, children have been orphaned.
“The children attended prayers with their families, making the mosque populated while the attack ensued,” said Hayat.
“As a foundation advocating for children everywhere, The Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation condemns violence against children regardless of the form it takes…. Children represent the future of our society and community. Violence against them will only continue the cycle of intolerance and hate that divides us as people. By standing together in condemnation against violence, we can help break the cycle, and create communities of understanding, caring, and compassion.”
He added, “In troubled times like this, we must show solidarity… and bring people together to show how to respond to such things in a peaceful way.”
Hayat says he worries that the attack, which comes at a time when diplomacy is needed more than ever, will exacerbate tensions between religious communities in Canada. He hopes to “create greater understanding between people” and said everyone “must take steps to end violence that fosters intolerance and hatred.”
No one has the right to take away someone’s spiritual freedom, he added.
“We need to be engaged in a process of healing that is collaborative, enhancing, inclusive, practical, pro-active and responsible,” said Hayat. “We must stand united together to create a society of love and justice. These horrific attacks on innocent civilians are really meant to divide us, however, with love and justice as our common shield, we can recognize our differences and strive to be the best human being.”
The Surrey vigil is set for Friday, Feb. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Holland Park, 13428 Old Yale Road.
Meanwhile, several Surrey events are planned from Feb. 1 to 7, which the City of Surrey and the United Nations have proclaimed as World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The week is “an opportunity to raise awareness of religious intolerance, misunderstanding or ignorance and bring opportunity for mutual self-reflection, open-mindedness and respect to all religions.”
Click here for an events listing.