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‘We are united’: NS Muslims react to Quebec City mosque shooting

Click to play video: 'Gestures of support out pour throughout Halifax for Nova Scotia’s Muslim community' Gestures of support out pour throughout Halifax for Nova Scotia’s Muslim community
WATCH ABOVE: City Hall flags flew at half-mast and flower bouquets were placed on mosque doors, all in solidarity for the victims of the Quebec City shooting. Global's Alexa MacLean reports – Jan 30, 2017

Members of Nova Scotia’s Muslim community say now is the time for people to stand united in the face of hatred after six people were killed and several others were injured during a shooting at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque shooting: Alexandre Bissonnette identified as alleged gunman

“Bring on board those people who are misunderstood, who have fear in their hearts and who don’t understand that difference doesn’t have to be frightening, it can actually be quite beautiful,” said Rana Zaman, an active member of the Nova Scotia Islamic community.

The mother of three said she spent much of Sunday evening trying to comfort her children in the aftermath of the shooting.

She said her university-aged daughter was texting her from her bedroom, searching for comfort.

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“[She was] saying, ‘Mom I can’t sleep. I’m afraid to be Muslim, I’m afraid to go out there and have people find out that I’m Muslim.'” Zaman said. “So I sent her a very positive message and the message was, this is not the time to be afraid.”

READ MORE: Police search for motive in deadly terror attack on Quebec City mosque

Najah Attig, a Muslim man living in Halifax, said his cousin was in hospital after being injured in the attack and his friend also died. But he said the shooting presented an opportunity for unity.

“The thing is, the most disturbing thing is, I mean, why is this happening for human being, we are all human being,” said Attig, who used to attend the mosque attacked Sunday.

“People paid their lives during this attack to make us united again. To show all the world we are one nation: Canada.”

‘We are united’

Zaman’s message not to be afraid is echoed by Rany Ibrahim, another Muslim Nova Scotian, who said he doesn’t believe the shooting was representative of true Canadian values.

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“This incident is an opportunity to showcase to ourselves and to the world that we are strong. We are united and this is not us,” Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim immigrated to Canada nearly 20 years ago and said he believes all communities, regardless of religious beliefs, must open up their arms to one another to overcome discrimination and prejudice.

“We must showcase how strong our community is, how close we are, how welcoming we are, this is our strength,” Ibrahim said.

Outpour of support

On Monday, a bouquet of flowers and a note of comfort were placed on the door of the Islamic Association of Nova Scotia in Dartmouth. It’s a sign of solidarity that Zaman said represents the Canada she calls home.

“I expected no less from our Canadian families, it’s not a surprise to me because that is what Canada is all about,” she said.

“The majority [of Canadians] are like that, they’re supportive, they’re caring, they’re welcoming.”
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– With files from Steve Silva, Global News

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