Bodhi and Saffron Lewis hold candles during a candlelight vigil Saturday at City Hall Park in Red Deer to remember those killed in a New Zealand mosque shooting. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

WATCH: Vigil for New Zealand mosque shooting victims held in Red Deer

Fifty people were killed in the shooting Friday

Red Deerians lit candles to remember the 50 people killed in Friday’s New Zealand mosque shooting.

About 100 people gathered for a candlelight vigil at City Hall Park in Red Deer Saturday, hosted by the Welcoming and Inclusive Communities Network.

Deirdre Ashenhurst, co-chair of the network, said “anti-Muslim sentiments” around the world need to stop.

“It’s necessary for every community to step forward and protest this kind of behaviour. It’s not acceptable to treat any group of people like this.

“Our whole community needs to come forward … and support this group of people that’s experiencing this sort of discrimination,” she said.

Ashenhurst said there is “a lot of fear-mongering and scapegoating” directed towards Muslim people.

“There is no reason why one particular religious group that’s just as peaceful as the next should be treated in this discriminatory fashion.”

The vigil was about more than commemorating the people killed in Friday’s shooting, Ashenhurst added.

“It’s also (about) preventative action. If we don’t start to change the wording and use of language in our society this will just continue. We need to treat people with respect and dignity,” she said.

Ashenhurst said she believe the response from political leaders has not been sufficient.

“I think the world is tired of people coming afterwards and saying ‘we’re giving our thoughts and prayers,’ when ahead of time we can change this sort of behaviour with our acceptance of different groups of people.

“If we start speaking with acceptance, dignity and respect for all groups of people this sort of action would decrease,” she said.

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About 100 people attended a candlelight vigil, to remember those killed in a New Zealand mosque shooting, Saturday at City Hall Park in Red Deer. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

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