January 29, 2019 8:33 pm
Updated: January 30, 2019 12:17 am

Quebec City mosque shooting: Commemoration marks 2nd anniversary of tragedy

WATCH: Quebec City holds vigil on 2nd anniversary of mosque shooting


The mosque shooting in Quebec City may have happened two years ago, but for people in Quebec City, it’s something that stays with them — and will likely remain with them for the foreseeable future.

“People need to remember what happened and remember at the end of the day, we’re all just humans,” said Kenza Tarek, a Muslim student at l’Université Laval.

READ MORE: Quebec City mosque shooting: Remembering the victims and moving on 2 years later

On occasion, Tarek said, she felt Islamophobia could be a problem in the city, a problem she says has ebbed and flowed the aftermath of a mosque shooting that injured 19 and killed six.

The second-annual commemoration was held at Laval University, organized by an ad hoc committee of concerned citizens of many different stripes.

WATCH: Quebec City remembers victims of mosque shootings on 2nd anniversary

“There has been tremendous sadness,” said Nora Loreto, one of the organizers.

“But there has been a tremendous effort to reject hatred, reject Islamophobia.”

The evening vigil began at 7 p.m. on Jan. 29 with a tribute not only to the victims of the tragedy, but to first responders as well.

Amir Belkacemi, whose father Khaled Belkacemi was killed in the mosque attack, was one of the first to address the crowd.

“To all the first responders, thank you,” he said.

The names of those killed were later read as banners bearing the names and images of the deceased were unfurled, making for a powerful moment.

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READ MORE: After nearly two years of fighting, Quebec City Mosque shooting widow will get compensation

Public figures and politicians also took to the stage to share messages of support and solidarity.

Earlier in the day, Quebec Premier François Legault, who was in Gatineau before returning to Quebec City, spoke of being there for each other.

“We don’t accept this kind of violence in our society,” he said. “These people are not alone. All Quebecers support them.”

When addressing the crowd, Boufeldja Benabdallah, the head of the Quebec City mosque where the tragedy played out, expressed his surprise.

“I am surprised, pleasantly surprised, by the courage of the people here in Quebec, by their understanding, solidarity and compassion,” he said.

The vigil ended with a choral rendition of Bob Marley’s One Love.

Several ceremonies were also held in Montreal throughout the day, with the need for greater inclusiveness being a central theme.

WATCH: Montreal remembers victims of mosque shooting on 2nd anniversary

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