MONTREAL – Rallies against Islamophobia are planned in three Montreal neighborhoods next Monday on the first anniversary of the Quebec mosque massacre.
According to the organizers, they will mark the anniversary to denounce “anti-Muslim racism in Quebec,” Montreal Gazette reported on Wednesday.
The marches will take place in front of the Verdun, Mont-Royal, and Jean-Talon metro stations.
One of the organizers, Benabdallah, worked with the mosque, Quebec City government, families of the victims, Université Laval, Quebec City diocese, and several other bodies to plan a four-day commemoration for the attack, from January 26 to 29.
“It’s necessary to remember the tragedy as a lesson for humanity and society, but also to warn about the rise in groups and individuals who promote hatred,” Benabdallah believes.
“We are telling society, let’s be careful and keep this generosity that is ours as citizens,” he told National Observer.
“Let’s keep this generosity and this empathy but let’s be careful about this rising minority, let’s talk to this minority.”
Benabdallah is also making sure families of the victims and members of the mosque are supported in the days to come.
The mosque, he said, has made several psychologists available to answer questions or provide advice during the commemorations.
Kenza Elazzouzi is another organizer preparing the event to mark the first anniversary of the terror attack.
For the few past months, she has worked with a dozen people from different backgrounds, jobs, and religions who form a group called Commémoration Citoyen to organize ceremonies for the one-year anniversary.
“We need to be in solidarity, to create a space where people can mourn, can bring support to the family, denounce this crime which is unacceptable and be in solidarity as much with Muslim family, as with their relatives and the neighborhood,” Elazzouzi expressed.
Along with the anniversary, the alleged shooter’s trial, set to begin next March, is expected to add pressures to the Muslim community.
“This trial will again open wounds, will generate a lot of media coverage,” Benabdallah said.
“But there needs to be closure, it needs to end.”
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has welcomed Montrealers to visit the city hall next Monday to remember the Muslim victims of the shooting.
Earlier this week, during a city council meeting, city councilors adopted a declaration honoring the victims of the Quebec City shooting.
The declaration urged Montrealers to “take all necessary means to fight Islamophobia and all forms of racism and systemic religious discrimination.”
Next Sunday will also witness several groups organizing a commemoration at Place de la Gare-Jean-Talon, near the Parc metro station.