January 29, 2018 4:02 pm

Quebec City mosque shooting victim ‘optimistic’ 1 year after tragedy

Aymen Derbali, who stands with members of DawaNet, was left paralyzed after the Quebec City mosque shooting.

DawaNet
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“Everything has changed,” says Aymen Derbali about his life since the night six people were gunned down inside the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec in Quebec City one year ago today.

READ MORE: Vigil to mark one year anniversary of Quebec City mosque shooting

Derbali told Global News that as the shooter charged the mosque on the evening of Jan. 29, he tried to draw attention to himself to try to save the others.

Aymen Derbali is attended to in hospital after being shot seven times during the Quebec City mosque shooting.

DawaNet

He was shot seven times and left paralyzed from the chest down.

READ MORE: Muslims at home in Quebec: Philippe Couillard on mosque shooting a year later

The 47-year-old father of three now lives in a rehabilitation hospital, where he attends therapy sessions on a daily basis.

WATCH BELOW: Quebec City mosque shooting


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Despite the horrific events that took place, Derbali told Global News he remains optimistic about the future.

READ MORE: Muslim community raises money for paralyzed mosque shooting victim

“Each community must take responsibility and stand up against hate,” Derbali said.

While he hopes an incident like this never happens again, he said he sees the attack as a learning opportunity for communities across the country to question their collective social conscience and create programs to educate and “sensitize young people.”

Aymen Derbali still goes to the mosque every Friday, despite being left paralyzed after the Quebec City mosque shooting.

DawaNet

In his own life, Derbali said he hopes to return home to his wife and three young children soon.

“I just want to go back and live with my family,” he said.

“I just want to be with my kids again.”

DawaNet, a non-profit organization in Toronto, has created an online fundraising campaign to buy the family a new, fully adapted home.

READ MORE: Quebecers write touching messages to families of victims of mosque shooting

So far, they have raised close to $350,000.

Aymen Derbali is confined to a wheelchair after being shot seven times during the Quebec City mosque shooting.

DawaNet

Derbali continues to go to the mosque every Friday, saying he finds solace in his prayers.

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

He will attend Monday night’s vigil, scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. in Quebec City.

READ MORE: Montrealers gather to mark anniversary of Quebec City mosque shooting

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard are also expected to join in the commemorations.

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