March 16, 2019 1:43 pm
Updated: March 17, 2019 11:00 am

Hundreds attend vigils across the Maritimes in wake of New Zealand mosque attacks

Residents gather outside Halifax City Hall on Saturday, March 16, 2019 for a vigil in the wake of the mosque shootings in New Zealand.

Graeme Benjamin/Global News

Hundreds of people across the Maritimes attended vigils this weekend for the 50 victims of the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The shootings that took place at two mosques on Friday left another 48 people seriously hurt. A 28-year-old man who identified himself as a white supremacist has been arrested and charged with murder.

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READ MORE: Halifax Muslim community comes together in wake of New Zealand mosque shootings

A vigil in Halifax was held Saturday at 7:30 p.m. outside city hall. Over 200 people were expected to attend, according to the Facebook event.

Masuma Khan, who organized the vigil, said the vigil was an opportunity for Muslims and the wider community to come together in prayer and healing.

“Muslims are fighting to have our humanity even be recognized by other humans,” Khan said in a phone interview Saturday. “Quite often, Muslims are associated with violence and are never really talked about in a light where our humanity shows.”

The day after the shooting, Ummah Masjid, Halifax’s largest mosque, said in a Facebook post that it has received “numerous phone calls and messages of sympathy and support” as a show of solidarity.

“Our loss and grief is humanity’s loss and grief. The sanctity of human life has been violated. For those who wish to join us for Friday prayer, we start at 1:30 p.m.,” the post read.

WATCH: Saint John Muslim community mourning New Zealand mosque shootings

Khan says it’s important for the wider community to not only show support in the days that follow an egregious event.

“What’s really important this continued support, and solidarity, and discussion, and education around Islamophobia and Xenophobia, and the roots of it,” she said. “There needs to be some intense conversations among communities to dismantle these stereotypes.”

The tragedy was also top of mind during Friday prayer at a mosque in Saint John, where Muslim community elder Abid Sheikh said the emotional pain of the shooting knows no boundaries.

“Suffering of humans is a universal pain,” Sheikh said on Friday. “Your pain is as human as is my pain. Colour, race, ethnicity has no connection with that.”

READ MORE: New Zealand mosque shootings — What we know about the suspects

The Moncton Muslim Association said in a Facebook post that a vigil will be held at 99 High St. on Sunday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

An event page has also been created on Facebook for a vigil in Fredericton. No One is Illegal Fredericton, a movement rooted in anti-colonial and anti-capitalist politics, has organized a vigil outside Fredericton City Hall on Saturday night starting at 6 p.m.

—With files from Jesse Thomas and Andrew Cromwell

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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