Alberta Mosque Turns Tragedy to Community Outreach

Muslims across Montreal and Canadian provinces have been organizing events to reach out to their neighbors as they mark the third anniversary of the deadly Quebec mosque shooting.

Three years ago, a Canadian lone gunman opened fire at a mosque in Quebec City on the evening of January 29, 2017.

Six people were killed, 19 injured, and 17 children have since been growing up without a father.

For Fort McMurray’s Islamic community, the best way to remember the victims was to invite the public for meals, questions, and outreach.

Alberta Mosque Turns Tragedy to Community Outreach - About Islam
Ambreen Ehtisham shows off Abdussalam Kabbara name written Arabic calligraphy at a community open house at the Markaz Ul Islam Mosque in Fort McMurray, Alta. on Saturday, January 25, 2020. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

On January 25, Markaz Ul Islam mosque opened its doors welcoming hundreds of people of all faith backgrounds.

Visitors enjoyed food from dozens of countries and a conversation about Islam and Muslims.

“The way this community reacted, which I believe makes this city so amazing, was so supportive,” Naseem Abdo, the mosque’s vice president of outreach, told Fort McMurray Today.

Overcoming feelings of shock and fear, the annual open house has become the mosque’s way of turning a tragedy into an opportunity for understanding.

“We know that hate still exists. I know it’s a very small minority,” said Abdo. “Events like this bring the community together, showing love and unity, regardless of what our beliefs are. It’ll really make us a stronger community.”

Other Events

Muslims across Canada are preparing events to mark the third anniversary of the shooting.

Last Thursday, a Muslim Awareness Week event kicked off officially. The event is marked by activities in churches, synagogues, mosques, cultural centers and universities, all in hopes of building bridges between communities.

Vigils, lectures, film screenings, and gatherings are also taking place across Canada to commemorate the Quebec Mosque Shooting and to discuss the issue of hate, Islamophobia or anti-Muslim bigotry, and violence in Canada.

On the other hand, the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), Islamic Relief Canada(IRC), and Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City have asked all Canadians, and all Canadian Muslims, to wear a green square from January 27-January 29 as part of the Green Square Campaign.

Moreover, Islamic Relief Canada (IRC) is calling upon community members to donate monthly to a Zakat-eligible fund to support the victims of the Quebec Mosque Attack.