In the wake of the Quebec City mosque attack on Sunday night, the aftermath resulted in support pouring in from Canadian politicians and religious leaders. The National Catholic Register reported the reactions from the Vatican, including Quebec City’s cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix and the Pope himself. The Secretary of State communicated the Pope’s condolences for the victims of the Quebec City mosque, stating that he “entrusts to the mercy of God the people who have lost their lives, and he unites himself in prayer to the sorrow of those close to them,” expressing his “his deep sympathy to the wounded and their families and to all those who have contributed to the aid, asking the Lord to bring comfort and consolation to the trial.”
On Wednesday, the mosque opened its doors for the first time, allowing Quebec and Canadian media to capture footage of the damage and trails of blood as a result of the attack. The members of the mosque wanted “to show all Canadians what happened,” according to the Montreal Gazette. Many members of the city’s Muslim community were also on site, touring the mosque which still had the scars from that night. The Toronto Sun explained that a worshipper named Ahmed Elrefai said that despite the damage, people were still determined to return and continue their prayer there. Muslims in Quebec City wanted the mosque to reopen as soon as possible. “The message is that we will still pray, even with blood on the floor,” Elrefai said.
The Quebec City mosque attack aftermath was not a pretty sight to behold, as there was still blood on the floor, and blood and bullet holes in the walls showing the damage at one of Quebec City’s religious gathering places. Ahmed El Refai, a staff member at the mosque, walked journalists around and showed them the traces left behind. He described what transpired that night from his perspective as he witnessed the crime.
“The gunman came in by this entry, this is the entrance of the mosque, started shooting two people on the outside at the entrance and then he came in. He started shooting, if you look, that’s the bathroom, he started shooting people here and then he entered that opening and started killing people. This is very emotional for me. I cannot describe that, because these were my friends, my brothers who were killed here.”
Another witness, Rachid Aouane, said he was mingling with his friends after prayer when he witnessed the entire scene.
“I saw the shooter in this corner; he shot a brother here. There was somebody dead here, look, his head was right there, somebody dead here and another brother died in this corner here. His eight-year-old daughter was there and saw everything.”
The Quebec City mosque posted its own video as well on Facebook to show the mosque’s interior damage.
The Quebec City mosque allowed people to walk around throughout the morning, with one Quebec City resident stopping by to give administrators a cheque of an unspecified amount. “We made (the donation) my wife and I to support the community, this is important for us, and we would like for everybody in Quebec to do the same thing,” said Normand Morneau. The center’s vice-president, Mohamed Labidi, responded, “It warms my heart. The amount doesn’t matter — it’s the gesture that counts.”
There will be a funeral service in Montreal on Thursday for three of the Quebec City mosque attack victims named Hassane Abdelkrim, Khaled Belkacemi, and Aboubaker Thabti, with prayers for the three other victims. The funeral for the three others, named Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, and Azzeddine Soufiane, will take place in Quebec City.
[Featured Image by Paulo Barcelos | Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and Resized | CC BY-SA 2.0]