Quebec City Muslim community reliving terror, pain after hearing about New Zealand mosque attacks

Quebec City Muslim community reliving terror, pain after hearing about New Zealand mosque attacks
At least 49 people are dead and many others seriously injured in Christchurch, located on New Zealand’s South Island, following the attacks during Friday prayers.

Forty-one of the victims were killed at Al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue and seven were at a mosque on Linwood Avenue. Another died at Christchurch Hospital, Commissioner Mike Bush said at a news conference.

He said the incident mirrors the deadly Quebec City mosque shooting, where Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire and .

“I don’t understand. I am really shocked and in my mind I think, ‘Why are those people attacking us, why? ” asked Douahi.

“We are not different. We are the same. We are only people praying. I don’t know.”

Born in Morocco, Douahi has lived in Quebec for 46 years. He is a Canadian citizen. He’s married to a Quebecoise woman and they have two children together.

“I think about the people who lost their lives [in New Zealand] and their families and we take prayer for them,” he said.

“It was really sad for me when I heard this information. It was very sad. I was shocked. I think it will take a lot of time to let it go, to separate myself from it.”

Douahi noted that the discourse surrounding immigration is separating people who come from different countries from those who are born in Canada.

“I am here for 46 years and I consider myself a Canadian,” he said.

“You know, all the people in this country are immigrants. You are maybe from Ireland, from France. We are all immigrants. Maybe they came here many years before us, but we are all immigrants.”

Members of Quebec City’s Muslim community say they know exactly what the families in New Zealand are going through and they, themselves, are being forced to relive the terror of the night of Jan. 29, 2017.

“The mothers will remember the 29th, when they ran to get husbands who were killed by Alexandre Bissonnette.”

He says people in his community are feeling indescribable pain and it’s time for lawmakers to legislate against extremism.

“We must get back to work once again to explain, to tell these extremists of all stripes who politicize religion, like extremists who use race as a basis for discrimination, that we must change,” Benabdallah said.

“The world cannot continue like this.”

Quebec Premier François Legault noted that he understands “perfectly how [New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern] feels today.”

“It’s totally unacceptable, what happened in New Zealand. It’s a shame,” he said.

“I want to tell all the people of New Zealand and people from the Muslim communities that my thoughts are with them and that we denounce strongly what happened.”

The Christchurch shootings come days after Crown prosecutors filed an appeal to the sentence handed down to the Quebec City killer.

Bissonnette was sentenced on Feb. 8 to life behind bars without the possibility of parole for 40 years — the harshest prison term ever in Quebec.
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