QUEBEC CITY, Canada — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Monday for his countrymen to stand up against Islamophobia and discrimination as he paid tribute tribute to six Muslims killed a year ago at a Quebec mosque.
Speaking at a rally in memory of the victims of the Islamic Cultural Center shooting, Trudeau lamented that acts of hate and discrimination have become “commonplace” or “even tolerated,” saying in parliament that “it should never have come to this point.”
“We cannot bring back those who perished, but we owe it to them to fight the very sentiment that caused their loss. We owe it to them to speak up and stand tall and explicitly against Islamophobia and discrimination in all its forms,” he said.
On January 29, 2017, just after the Sunday evening prayer, a gunman burst into the mosque in a residential neighborhood of Quebec City and opened fire on worshipers.
In addition to the six deaths, four of the victims suffered permanent disabilities in what remains one of the worst attacks on an Islamic place of worship in the West.
In the aftermath, thousands of people, including Trudeau, gathered in Quebec City to express their support for the Muslim community.
The alleged perpetrator, Alexandre Bissonnette, was formally charged in October for the murder of six people and the attempted murder of another 35 worshipers in the mosque. His trial is scheduled to begin in late March.