KAMLOOPS - The Islamic community of Kamloops saw support from the wider community today at a special prayer session held following the terrorist attack in Quebec City last Sunday.
Approximately 200 people attended the event at the Ayesha Mosque in Knutsford today, Feb. 3, hosted by the Kamloops Islamic Association. Faisal Siddiqui, president of the Kamloops Islamic Association, says the support from Kamloops has been huge.
“There was quite an overwhelming response from Kamloops’ citizens,” he says. “I wish we could find words to offer our gratitude for the support because we are stronger together.”
The crowd, which had to be housed inside after the Friday morning snow, filled the space. People were standing in the mosque's staircase, listening to speakers, which included politicians and community members.
“It was no doubt very obvious to us we had more non-Muslims present inside the mosque than muslims today,” Siddiqui says. “It’s the first time in history here in Kamloops.”
Fatima Choudhry, a regular at the mosque, says the turnout was uplifting.
“I think it’s a huge support,” she says. “Having experienced racism myself it’s nice to see not everyone is the same and there are people in our community that do support the local Muslim community and we’re on the same page.”
Imam Ahmed Ghazi, also a student at Thompson Rivers University, says the experience in the mosque was one of love and compassion.
“We always try to find the common ground between different beliefs, different groups of people,” he says. “This just expresses how people have lots of common ground between them. Everyone was speaking today about our community as a whole, not one specific community.”
Among the attendees were local MLA and transportation minister Todd Sone, B.C.’s Attorney General and justice minister Suzanne Anton, Mayor Peter Milobar, Kamloops RCMP Supt. Brad Mueller, city councillors and candidates for the NDP and Green parties in the upcoming provincial election.
“It feels like the city of Kamloops, the people of Kamloops are giving our Muslim brothers and sisters a big hug as if to say we’re all Kamloopsians, we’re British Columbians, we’re all Canadians,” Stone says. “We’re all God’s children and we have to look after each other.”
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