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Quebec City's memorial to 2017 mosque shooting victims symbolizes defeat of hatred


Quebec City has inaugurated a memorial to the victims of the 2017 mosque shooting.

The commemorative work designed by artist Luce Pelletier is located near the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, in the city's Ste-Foy district.

Mayor Regis Labeaume said the Jan. 29, 2017 attack on the centre left families, a community and an entire city in mourning when six Muslim men were gunned down shortly after the end of evening prayers.

Labeaume says the people of Quebec City want to live together in harmony, a sentiment reinforced by another recent tragedy, a sword attack that left two people dead and five injured in the city's historic district on Halloween night.

He says the memorial, titled "Vivre Ensemble" (Live Together), is a way of making it clear that "hate will never win."

The monument is composed of several elements that symbolize the meeting of different communities, with the part near the mosque serving as an area for meditation and commemoration.

The area for reflection includes a written recounting of what happened that night while the commemorative portion includes the names of the six men engraved on stones, each adorned with perforated aluminum sheets with patterns inspired by their countries of origin: Morocco, Guinea, Tunisia and Algeria.

Family members of the six victims — Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Abdelkrim Hassane, Azzeddine Soufiane and Aboubaker Thabti — as well as some survivors were present for the unveiling today.

"This tragedy left a permanent scar on the hearts of thousands of residents," Labeaume said. "To demonstrate that we remember, that we still think about the victims today, we are proud to pay homage with the magnificent commemorative monument."

The president of the mosque gave an emotional address with a message for the children of the six victims.

"For the kids present today, the children of our lost friends, you have felt that everyone loves you," Boufeldja Benabdallah said.

"When you cross people on the street, they embrace you. You are like their children, everyone loves you and everyone wants you to become the great citizens of tomorrow, to honour this city and to honour your parents' memory."

The Quebec City man convicted of six counts of first-degree murder in the killings was sentenced to life in prison in February 2019. Following a successful appeal decision last week, he is eligible to apply for parole after serving 25 years in prison.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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