A “ring of peace” was formed around an Edmonton mosque as a show of solidarity to the faith community on Friday.
The event took place at the Muslim Association of Canada Islamic Centre on 172 Street.
“It is about anti-discrimination and people standing up to hate crimes against Muslims,” organizer Jenn Prosser said.
There were no speeches at the event as Prosser said the “ring of peace” was meant to convey hope and peace as worshippers entered the mosque for afternoon services.
“Right now, in a time of mourning and grief, that’s what we need, is that support network,” she added. “It’s really the beginning of a crucial conversation that needs to be had within the Muslim circles, but most importantly, outside of that.”
Prosser said some people have been living in fear or pain since the Quebec City mosque shooting and U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on travel to the United States by people from seven Muslim-majority countries. She said the human chain was meant to tell them that they have the right to practice their faith.
She added the event was modeled after actions taken by Christians and Muslims during the Egyptian revolution “which was to link arms to keep each other safe during prayer services.”
A “visit a mosque” event was also held Friday at the Baitul Hadi Mosque on 98 Avenue.
The campaign, which is supported by Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, took place across the country.
It was meant to open the doors of mosques to allow Canadians to visit and show their support for Muslims.
Mohyuddin Mirza, director of external relations at the Baitul Hadi Mosque, said the idea was to “remove any fears about Islam or the mosques, where worshippers come in peace and they try to seek peace and communication with their creator and God. Nothing sinister is going on inside the mosque. People come; they are old and poor and rich and ladies and young people and they come here to seek peace, be in peace, listen to sermons.”
“We also want to express our feelings, how the Canadian public at large… responded in such a positive manner that they give us hope for humanity,” he said, adding the mosque’s neighbours have dropped by over the last week to bring flowers.
According to Mirza, Friday’s prayer service presented an opportunity to condemn the Quebec mosque massacre.
“It really doesn’t matter if it was a mosque or a church or a synagogue or a temple or any place of worship where people go and pray to their creator,” he said. “If someone walks in and just destroys the lives of people and their families, just gunning them down, that’s not a good value by any means.”
Watch below: Days after the Quebec mosque massacre, people from all walks of life gathered at the University of Alberta Friday night to show their solidarity with Edmonton’s Muslim community. Sarah Kraus reports.