Quebec honours mosque shooting victims with memorial encouraging dialogue, acceptance

Quebec City will honour the victims of the deadly 2017 mosque shooting with a memorial park to be built near the site where six worshippers were gunned down.

Mayor Regis Labeaume made the announcement Tuesday on the second anniversary of the mass shooting. Labeaume said the tragic event left families and an entire community in mourning, and the memorial will ensure the victims are not forgotten.

“This artistic creation invites dialogue and friendship, on one side of the street and on the other,” Labeaume said. “The concept inspires respect and harmony between diverse communities.”

The centrepiece of the park will be a monument created by Quebec artist Luce Pelletier called “Vivre Ensemble” (Live Together). She said she chose to place a tree in the middle to represent “the cycle of life and the resilient force of nature.”

Boufeldja Benabdallah, president of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, was present with widows and children of the victims at the unveiling of a scale model. “Violence can and must be converted into friendship, kindness and recognition,” Benabdallah said. “That is the meaning of this memorial.”

The mosque shooting claimed the lives of six men: Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty to the killings last year and is to be sentenced Feb. 8 on six counts of first-degree murder. If the judge orders that the six life sentences be serviced consecutively, Bissonnette would not be eligible for parole for 150 years.

In Ottawa, the Canadian Muslim Forum and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, called on the federal government to declare Jan. 29 a national day to combat Islamophobia. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez said the federal government is still in discussions to identify a suitable way to commemorate the tragedy.

“We will arrive at a solution that reflects a consensus, because these are questions that require a consensus to go forward,” he said.

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