The voices of those affected by the tragic terrorist attack on Quebec mosque will be widely heard on the big screen in a new documentary that marks the third anniversary of the shooting.
Directed by Afghan Canadian Ariel Nasr, The Mosque: A Community’s Struggle is a documentary set for screening across Quebec to mark the third anniversary of the 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.
Alexandre Bissonnette, the man responsible for the Quebec City mosque shooting, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.
The new documentary is an intimate portrait of the resilient Muslim community of Ste-Foy, Québec, as they struggle to survive and shift the narrative of what it means to be a Muslim.
Montreal-based writer and director Ariel Nasr said it was his experience as a filmmaker in Afghanistan that compelled him to reach out to victims and family members of the attack in Quebec City.
“I had come from a place where I was working with a lot of communities who were traumatized by terror and violence. I didn’t think I would see that again when I came back to Canada,” Nasr told Global News.
The work on the documentary started shortly after the 2017 shooting.
“I knew that while for the rest of Quebec it may have seemed like an isolated event, I knew that the community would be struggling with the trauma and wondering if this could happen again,” Nasr said.
Zebida Bendjadou, a member of the mosque, left mosque only 45 minutes before the terrorist attack.
“When we go to the mosque, despite the renovations, we still see evidence of the shooting,” she said.
“We still see bullet holes in the carpet. It’s devastating.”
As the world moves on, this small mosque and its community fights Islamophobia, harassment and hate speech.
Living peacefully in Quebec City for 37 years, Bendjadou said something was broken on the night of the shooting.
“I hope there is an awakening. We’re here, we’re different, but that difference is enriching,” she said.