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Lettre à toi: Quebecers write touching messages to families of victims of mosque shooting

Click to play video 'EXTENDED: First-hand look inside Quebec City mosque where deadly shooting took place' EXTENDED: First-hand look inside Quebec City mosque where deadly shooting took place
WATCH ABOVE: Ahmed El Refai, an administrator at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, offers Global's Mike Le Couteur a personal, step-by-step tour of the mosque where the deadly shooting occurred, giving his own personal recollection as well as a vow that the Muslim community will heal in the wake of the tragedy.

Writing a letter to the families of the victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting has been a cathartic experience for 27-year-old Sarah Johnston.

It’s part of a project called Lettre à toi, or Letters To You in English, that encourages people across the province to share their feelings, sentiments and thoughts with those affected by the deadly attack.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque left with blood stains, bullet holes after deadly shooting

Johnston, who works as a freelance translator, was one of six people who organized the vigil that took place the day after the mosque attack.

“We wanted to make sure that the conversation didn’t end at the vigil because there are families that are stuff suffering and a community that is still suffering,” she told Global News.

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“We didn’t want that to be forgotten.”

Lettre à toi has received over 200 letters from people across the province.

READ MORE: ‘Islamophobia exists,’ Montreal Muslim community in shock following Quebec City mosque attack

“Based on the letters we read, we have lots of people writing in and saying that it was cathartic for them, but it also let them reflect on their actions,” Johnston said.

“A lot of people wrote in to say, ‘before, if I heard a hateful remark, I’ve stayed silent, but seeing what silence and apathy can do, I’m not saying silent anymore.”

WATCH BELOW: Terror in Quebec City after mosque shooting

The organizers are gathering the letters in a binder, which will be given to the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, where the attack took place.

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READ MORE: Quebec City Mosque Shooting: Eiffel Tower goes dark to honour victims

The group will then distribute 15 additional binders to other mosques and centres where Muslim people gather.

“One of the victims, Azzeddine Soufiane,  ran a grocery and it’s still being run by his wife, so we hope to have a binder there to reach more people,” the 27-year-old told Global News.

“We’ve also assembled boxes for people who lost someone or who have someone who was greatly injured in the attack.”

READ MORE: Montreal police increasing presence around mosques after Quebec City attack

The group finished assembling the binders last week and hope to distribute them shortly.

IN PHOTOS: Carnage inside the Quebec City mosque: WARNING – graphic images

A bullet hole from inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.
A bullet hole from inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Kelly Greig/Global News
Blood stains on the walls inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.
Blood stains on the walls inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Kelly Greig/Global News
Blood stains on the ground inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.
Blood stains on the ground inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Kelly Greig/Global News
Blood stains on the ground inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.
Blood stains on the ground inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Kelly Greig/Global News
Blood stains on the ground inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.
Blood stains on the ground inside the Quebec City mosque that was attacked on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017. Kelly Greig/Global News

Johnston admitted she doesn’t necessarily see closure when it comes to the issue of islamophobia or discrimination, but said the group hopes to continue the project to keep the conversation going.

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READ MORE: Quebec City mosque shooting: Timeline of police response to attack

“There’s still a lot of hurt. There’s still a lot of families who are still adjusting to not having somebody with them,” Johnston told Global News.

“We just wanted to make sure that people know that we remember and we’re not going to let them be forgotten.”

READ MORE: Alexandre Bissonnette allegedly visited Quebec City mosque days before shooting: source

Letters can still be sent (anonymously or otherwise) to:

Lettre à toi
CP 30247 Mail Centre Ville
Québec, QC, G1K 8Y2

Or by e-mail: lettreatoi.contact@gmail.com

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca