Hundreds support Kamloops Muslim community in prayer service

By Chad Klassen
February 3, 2017 - 5:00pm Updated: February 3, 2017 - 5:52pm

KAMLOOPS — Kamloops residents came out by the hundreds on Friday to show their support for the Muslim community. 

Local Muslims are still reeling after the brazen attack on Sunday in Quebec City. The mosque in Knutsford was the scene of a somber gathering, as people from all religious backgrounds and affiliations came together to pray. 

WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen

The Kamloops Imam, Ahmed Gazi, led worshipers through a prayer --- a regular devotional every friday --- but hundreds more joined them to remember the six men tragically killed. 

"I came to support the Muslim community, but also to stand together with everyone in the wake of the kind of attacks that are happening across the world," said Jim Williams, who attending the memorial on Friday. 

Another attended noted, "it's important that we all stand together and we support each other. It doesn't matter what religion, what colour, where we're coming from."

"I don't want the hatred," said Sybil Campbell. "I've come here to help and support the Muslim community."

The shooting has impacted many Canadians from all walks of life, who came to support the Kamloops Muslim community, most of whom are still hurting in the aftermath of these murders.

"It's really affected all the community," said Zait Rahman. "It was really bad, and it's really affected people psychologically."

Muqsit Faruqi noted "it's always hard to deal with when there's any loss of human life, especially in such a senseless manner. Being Canadian, you always think these are problems that are more towards the south of the border and don't affect Canada."

At the memorial, members of the Kamloops RCMP, leaders of various religious groups in the city, as well as the mayor of Kamloops Peter Milobar. 

"I think it really speaks volumes to how welcoming we are as a community to all faiths and political ideals," said Milobar in reference to the hundreds of Kamloops residents that showed up to the memorial. "It sends a strong message out there that we are a welcoming city and we're a place of safety and inclusion."

After the prayer gathering, people signed a book of condolenses with messages of support for Muslims across Canada, and in particular quebec city.

The messages will eventually make their way to Quebec City in the coming weeks. 

"We are not sending that book on behalf of the Kamloops Islamic Association," said Faisal Siddiqui. "As I have got consent from our mayor, Peter Milobar, we'll be sending it on behalf of the City of Kamloops, and we'll be telling the people of Quebec City that there are no boundaries and no distances that can separate us in this time of difficulty. 

The hope is, the book and this show of support and solidarity puts faith back into what Canadian values are all about --- and that's inclusion. 

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