Three years after a deadly shooting which left six Muslims dead inside Quebec mosque, Muslims are hosting an awareness week to reach out to the community and build bridges between Muslim and non-Muslim groups.
Called Muslim Awareness Week, the event, which officially kicked off on Thursday, is marked by activities in churches, synagogues, mosques, cultural centers and universities, all in hopes of building bridges between communities.
Three years ago, a Canadian lone gunman opened fire at a mosque in Quebec City on the evening of January 29, 2017.
Alexandre Bissonnette, the man responsible for the Quebec City mosque shooting, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.
“For us, it’s very important this week because it started 29th of January 2017,” Boufeldja Benabdallah, founder of the Quebec City Islamic Center, said after the launch, Global News reported.
After the first anniversary to commemorate the incident, some people wanted to reach out and deepen relationship with non-Muslims.
“It is only by hard work, by reaching out, by, let me say, exposing ourselves so that people would know us, so that they would stop hating us,” Ehab Latoyef, coordinator of the Muslim Awareness Week organizing committee, told Global News.
The week runs from Jan. 25 to 31.
The week is purposely built around the mosque attack anniversary to ensure no one forgets what happened.
Vigils, lectures, film screenings, and gatherings are also taking place across Canada to commemorate the Quebec Mosque Shooting and to discuss the issue of hate, Islamophobia or anti-Muslim bigotry, and violence in Canada.
“In order to pass on the message that Muslims are like any other Canadian, any other Quebecois, and they would love to build, they would love to achieve, they would love to contribute, and they would love to succeed,” mosque president Bilal Abdul Kader said.