“Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzedine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi.”
These are the names of the six victims killed in the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec shooting on Jan. 29 last year. One year later, CityNews reporter Ginella Massa recites their names at a vigil held at Nathan Phillips Square, as a reminder of the lives lost in one of the most horrific shootings in recent Canadian history.
“First and foremost, we stand in solidarity with the families of these six men whose names you just heard and whose lives were taken away. By joining together to mark the one-year anniversary of the attack, we reiterate our unwavering unity against Islamophobia and any associated actions that seek to divide us,” said Massa.
Toronto Mayor John Tory also made an appearance at the vigil, condemning the shooting as a senseless act of violence. In his speech, Tory talked about the debate surrounding the world ‘Islamophobia’ and stressed the importance of acknowledging fear and ignorance.
“We need to underline more than ever, the need for more education and understanding in a place that is as diverse as this city,” said Tory.
Coun. Neethan Shan, who represents the Scarborough-Rouge River ward, also called for action against Islamophobia at the vigil. After requesting a moment of silence, Shan ended his speech by declaring Jan. 29 as the “Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.” Shan proposed this motion at a city hall meeting on Jan. 12. The motion was introduced at the upcoming Toronto Council meeting on Jan. 31.
“Regardless of whether the government accepts it or not, we claim this day as the Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia,” said Shan in a speech at the vigil.
The one-year anniversary of the shooting was a painful reminder for community members at Ryerson, particularly for president, Mohamed Lachemi. Lachemi attended Sherbrooke University with some of the victims affected by the attack in Quebec City. Khaled Belkacemi, one of the six men who died in the shooting, was his close friend.
“It was hard for others, but it was especially hard for me. When people say the situation in Quebec hasn’t necessarily improved, I think that’s a reality. We should learn a lesson from what happened and see how we can be more inclusive in our society,” Lachemi told the Ryersonian.