The BC Muslim Association urged police to protect places of worship and Muslims to be more vigilant for suspicious activities , in the wake of the fatal shootings at a mosque in Quebec.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, faces several charges, including murder, after gunfire erupted at the Islamic Cultural Centre de Quebec in Quebec City Sunday night, leaving six people dead and five others in critical condition. Police have yet to speak on motive.
"Place of worship is a sacred sanctity and should always be maintained irrespective of one’s faith,” the association said.
“It is our belief that no group or individual in a free and just society should live in fear because of their ethnicity, faith or religious beliefs.”
A candlelight vigil is set to take place in Vancouver on Monday evening, outside the Al-Jamia Masjid mosque. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Police Chief Adam Palmer are expected to attend. Al-Jamia Masjid was the first mosque to open its doors in Western Canada, back in 1965.
Another vigil is expected to occur in Surrey on Friday, hosted by the Amazing Tutors Children’s Foundation.
Raza Mirani, general secretary with the Pakistan Canada Association, said most mosques in B.C. have security cameras, but they are still public places and open to all.
“Making it more difficult to attend defeats the purpose” Milani said, adding that he’s waiting to learn about the motive for the Quebec City attack.
In the meantime, he said the messages from British Columbians have all been positive.
He was at the association's gala on Sunday, celebrating its 50th anniversary when guests got word of the attack.
They were quick to give condolences and support, especially during a time when Mirani said many Muslims are feeling segregated because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s order to ban those from seven Muslim-majourity countries from entering his country.
Premier Christy Clark released a statement Monday morning, saying she was “shocked and saddened by the tragic shooting in Quebec, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the incident as “a terrorist attack on Muslims.”
— Ashley Wadhwani (@ashwadhwani) January 30, 2017