WATCH ABOVE: Angie Seth reports on why the Ottawa shooting has Muslim Canadians concerned.
TORONTO – Wednesday’s shooting at Parliament Hill was “grossly unIslamic,” according to a Toronto-area Muslim leader.
“Islam that we know of would not teach anyone to kill innocents. Whatever the reason, whatever the grievances, whatever the complaints, you cannot take the life of an innocent person who has no role in what you are complaining for,” Lal Khan Malik, the national president of the Ahmadiya Muslim Jama said.
Malik said his heart goes out to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and everyone affected by the shooting.
Cirillo was guarding the War Memorial near Parliament in Ottawa on Wednesday when he was shot in the back by the gunman. He was taken to hospital where he later died.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a national address later that night, called the shooting a terrorist act.
“This is a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world,” he said.
There has been a rash of anti-Muslim attacks around the world since more and more countries joined the fight against ISIS in Iraq. According to the Australian newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald, Muslims have been the target of at least 30 attacks since September.
Islamaphobia has spread to Canada as well. Fort Saskatchewan’s Muslim community have had to clean up anti-Muslim graffiti from a building used for prayer multiple times in September.
And according to a 2009 Angus Reid survey, 68 per cent of Quebecers had an unfavourable opinion of Islam.
WATCH: Muslim students react to stereotypes associated with terrorism. Mark McAllister reports.
RCMP officials said Thursday the shooter’s father was Libyan and his mother was Canadian and that he had recently converted to Islam.
Malik hopes, he said, Canadians will be able to differentiate between one individual and an otherwise peaceful religion.
“I have a clear confidence on the Canadian population to understand better; to know the difference between an isolated crime, a deranged person, and a whole community,” Malik said. “This type of attack, this type of crime, doesn’t necessarily reflect a whole community, or a whole religion.”
Former MP for Mississauga-Erindale Omar Alghabra, along with several other members of the Toronto-area Muslim community, gathered Wednesday night a few hours after Harper’s speech to lay a wreath for Cpl. Cirillo at the cenotaph in Streetsville.
He said he was shocked by the attack and knew Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant-At-Arms who shot the gunman, very well.
“We’re here today to express our solidarity with the soldier who passed away, Nathan Cirillo, and all those who were affected, and stand together united against any act of aggression or terrorism.”