January 30, 2017 11:15 pm
Updated: January 31, 2017 9:07 pm

Hundreds converge on Alberta legislature grounds for Quebec mosque shooting vigil

WATCH ABOVE: The Alberta legislature grounds were packed Monday night as Edmontonians came out to show their support for Muslim Canadians and those shot and killed in Quebec over the weekend. Sarah Kraus reports.

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Hundreds of people gathered at the Alberta legislature in Edmonton Monday night to pay tribute to people killed in Quebec Sunday in what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a “terrorist attack.”

Six people taking part in evening prayers at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre were shot to death, 12 others were taken to hospital.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau: ‘Make no mistake – this was a terrorist attack’

“We’re hoping that people walk away with a renewed sense of optimism, with a renewed sense of hope and you know, just this notion that this is what Canada is,” said Mustafa Farooq with the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council, which organized the vigil.

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The crowd that gathered braved brisk temperatures and an unusually windy day in Alberta’s capital to show solidarity with the victims’ families and with Muslim Canadians as a whole.

READ MORE: Quebec City terrorist attack on mosque kills 6, injures 8

“This would have been their last prayer of the day,” Farooq said, when asked what he believed the victims would have been doing at the time they were shot.

“[They would have been] just coming in, putting away the stresses [and] the worries of the workday behind them, submitting to God, asking for forgiveness, thinking about what they did in their day, trying to think about how they’re going to make their next day a better one, how they’re going to make their society, their neighbours around them happier — that’s really what would have been going on there when they were shot in the back.

“We want to show Edmontonians that this is a place of hope, not a place of despair,” he added, pointing out Edmonton is the birthplace of the anti-racism hashtag “makeitawkward.”

READ MORE: ‘Terrorism has no faith’: Edmonton Imam urges patience after Quebec mosque shooting

Farooq also said, “We’re all affected when bad things happen” a sentiment echoed by Mayor Don Iveson when he spoke to the crowd that had assembled.

“When one of us is attacked in hatred, we are all attacked,” Iveson said. “That’s the Canadian deal.

“For those who are afraid, Edmonton loves you and stands with you and you can see that here tonight,” he added as the crowd cheered.

The rally featured a number of speakers including Premier Rachel Notley as well as indigenous, Jewish and Christian leaders.

“To those people out there giving rise to lies and hate and injustice, know that you only strengthen our common desire for truth and love and justice,” Notley told the crowd.

Watch below: The deadly shooting at a mosque in Quebec City on Sunday has prompted vigils and demonstrations across Canada and here in Edmonton. On Tuesday night, about 1,000 people gathered at the Alberta Legislature grounds. Fletcher Kent has more. 

One couple Global News spoke with said they live about an hour north of Edmonton but felt it was important to drive into the city to make a statement.

“It (the Quebec attack) bothered us,” Richard Desmet said. “We have children and grandchildren and we don’t want them to be part of a world that’s built around fear and hate.”

“We think it’s important for people to gather together in love and solidarity and try to combat this in any way that you can,” his wife Vera said.

“I think it was important to us because as Canadians are mourning, as we’re all feeling that kind of sense of sadness and horror, thinking that this kind of thing really wouldn’t happen – that a place of worship would never be attacked in Canada,” Farooq said. “This is 2017. How could this happen?”

Watch below: Shortly before a Monday evening vigil in Edmonton in response to Sunday’s tragic terrorist attack at a Quebec City mosque, the vice president of the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council spoke to Gord Steinke.

On Monday night, Edmonton’s High Level Bridge was lit up in the colours of the Quebec flag to show solidarity with the province in which the shooting occurred.

Watch below: Edmonton Eskimos slotback Adarius Bowman attended the vigil Monday night. He said he wanted to be there because “that circumstance could happen to any of us.”

With files from Sarah Kraus.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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