When news of the mosque shootout broke, Rashad Wanas grabbed his wife and three children and hid inside a bedroom, fearing they were next.
The 38-year-old moved to Canada in 2011 to escape the conflict in his native Iraq.
But the mosque shooting brought everything rushing back, and Wanas felt instantly transported back to 2003.
“When I got the news, it took me back to Iraq. It was like the situation that made me live in hiding in Iraq,” Wanas told Global News.
Wanas, who lived through the worst of the Iraq war, says this isn’t what he expected from his new home.
“I came to Canada because I heard it was peaceful and safe, that life is good for families,” he said.
“I left my friends, my father, my mother, my family… everything. I chose safety for my family.”
Even with the outpouring of support and vigils across the country, Wanas says he doesn’t feel safe.
He fears for his family, especially his wife who wears a hijab.
“Monday morning, my wife was wearing her hijab to work. I told her no, you’re not wearing it. You’re going to wear something else, you might be targeted.”
He’s disappointed and scared something like this could happen in Canada.
It’s a life he thought he left behind.