A week after 50 people were shot and killed during the Christchurch Mosque massacre, hundreds of people from Montreal’s various faith communities showed up at city mosques because they wanted to show their solidarity with the city’s Muslim community. Organized by several religious leaders, Temple Emanu-el Beth Sholom’s Rabbi Lisa Gruschow said that the event was meant to show people that they are not alone, “...and that to the best of our abilities,” they have the community’s protection and support. As word about the demonstration spread through the internet, several hundred people showed up for a morning demonstration in front of a Ville St. Laurent mosque where they joined hands and created what they called “...a circle of peace.”
“I think there are so many of us who want peace, equality and inclusion’ said NDG’s Eva Pomeroy.
Others, including Montreal’s Nazlin Patel, said that they were speechless to see the support from all the city’s various religious communities.
“It means a lot to us,” he said. “It proves that everybody wants peace, unity and love.”
Based upon little more than a single request for support that made its way through the city’s social media, others, including Montreal MNA David Birnbaum, showed up to honor the day’s call for the dead in front of the Belmont St. headquarters of the Canadian Institute of Islamic Civilization that’s located in the heart of the city’s downtown core. Following Birnbaum’s short speech, Montreal Pastor Arlen Bonner spoke about his own experience within the city’s faith community and how “...it’s our common duty,” to denounce the violence and Islamophobia that leads to hate crimes such as the ones that occurred in a Québec City mosque as well as those that occurred in New Zealand.
“We are stronger by our commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion,” said McGill’s Dr. Amal Elsana director of the CIIC. “Thank you so much for being here and for doing what you can to help us honour the dead.”