Hate­ful words can lead to tragedy, PM says

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - GIUSEPPE VALIANTE

A mass shoot­ing that killed six men at a Que­bec mosque is a grim re­minder that hate­ful words seek­ing to ex­clude or de­mean oth­ers can have tragic con­se­quences, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau told a fu­neral ser­vice Fri­day for three of the vic­tims.

“It’s high time those be­hind these mes­sages — whether they are politi­cians, ra­dio or TV hosts or other pub­lic per­son­al­i­ties — re­al­ize the harm their words can cause,” Trudeau said, prompt­ing a wave of ap­plause.

“Con­fronted with these words that hurt and ex­clude, it falls on us to de­fend the val­ues that are im­por­tant to us,” he told sev­eral thou­sand mourn­ers at the Que­bec City con­ven­tion cen­tre.

“Ev­ery one of us is re­spon­si­ble for lead­ing the fight against in­jus­tice and dis­crim­i­na­tion in daily life, for act­ing in a way that rep­re­sents who we are, that rep­re­sents Canada, that rep­re­sents the coun­try that Azze­dine Soufi­ane, Ma­madou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry loved so much.”

Trudeau said Ma­madou Tanou Barry, 42, Ibrahima Barry, 39, and Soufi­ane, 57, were ex­tra­or­di­nary men who loved their fam­i­lies, their com­mu­ni­ties and their faith.

The Barry men were from Guinea, while Soufi­ane came from Morocco.

The cer­e­mony came a day af­ter a sim­i­lar ser­vice in Mon­treal for Ab­delkrim Has­sane, 41, Khaled Belka­cemi, 60, and Aboubaker Thabti, 44, the three other men shot to death in the car­nage.

Hus­sein Guil­let, an imam, said it is im­por­tant to build on the tragedy.

“God gave us a lemon, let’s make lemon­ade out of that,” he told mourn­ers Fri­day. “Let us build on this neg­a­tive and then have some­thing pos­i­tive.”

Que­bec Premier Philippe Couil­lard and Que­bec City Mayor Régis Labeaume also ad­dressed the au­di­ence, with the lat­ter strik­ing a par­tic­u­larly emo­tional chord when he told Soufi­ane’s ado­les­cent son, “We love you.”

Labeaume also an­nounced the Muslim com­mu­nity in the city will get the ceme­tery it has been ask­ing for.

Couil­lard, who opened his speech in Ara­bic, echoed Trudeau’s mes­sage on the im­por­tance of di­a­logue in the wake of the tragedy.

Alexan­dre Bis­son­nette, 27, was ar­rested Sun­day night af­ter the mas­sacre, in which 19 peo­ple were also wounded. He has been charged with six counts of first-de­gree mur­der and five of at­tempted mur­der us­ing a re­stricted firearm.

PAUL CHIASSON, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau ad­dresses mourn­ers at a cer­e­mony Fri­day for three of the six men killed in the Que­bec City mosque shoot­ings.

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