Van­cou­verites gather at vigil...

The Miracle - - Front Page -

Event to hon­our those killed in tragic shoot­ing, but also to speak out against Is­lam­o­pho­bia By Chad Paw­son, Maryse Zei­dler, CBC News It be­gan with hun­dreds of peo­ple at a Van­cou­ver mosque and ended with up to 1,500 at Van­cou­ver’s Olympic caul­dron — all join­ing to­gether to hon­our those killed in the re­cent Que­bec mosque shoot­ing and speak out against Is­lam­o­pho­bia. “I think it feels good, this is what it’s like to be Cana­dian,” said Aimee Berard, who was at the Al Jamia mosque around 5:30 p.m. PT on Satur­day with flow­ers.“No mat­ter what faith we be­lieve in, what na­tion­al­ity, we come to­gether — and no mat­ter what the weather’s like — it’s im­por­tant to be here to show sol­i­dar­ity. Satur­day’s vigil be­gan with a prayer at the mosque, then gath­ered peo­ple out­side the Van­cou­ver Art Gallery be­fore mov­ing onto Jack Poole Plaza. The events were or­ga­nized by the mosque, the Coali­tion Against Big­otry and the Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada. “We Mus­lims, we’re pretty tired of the stereo­types,” said Tarek Ra­madan, one of the or­ga­niz­ers with the as­so­ci­a­tion. “We’re get­ting sick and tired of be­ing stereo­typed and blamed for things that we’re to­tally in­no­cent of, be­ing la­belled as rad­i­cals or

Is­lamic ter­ror­ists.”Ra­madan said the Mus­lim com­mu­nity be­gan to plan the event shortly after a shoot­ing at a mosque in Que­bec City that left six peo­ple dead. “It’s just time to do some­thing about it be­cause it has gone to a re­ally es­ca­lated level of dan­ger when peo­ple get shot and killed in ... the mosque or get at­tacked in the SkyTrains or women get bul­lied in the schools. “It’s time to stop Is­lam­o­pho­bia,” he said. Many dif­fer­ent faith groups at­tended Satur­day’s vig­ils. Among them was Martha Roth with In­de­pen­dent Jewish Voices Canada. “As Jews we feel a spe­cial bond with Mus­lims at this time be­cause Jews know what it is to be tar­geted and scape­goated over many cen­turies,” she said. “Like Mus­lims we too have been the butts of ridicu­lous prej­u­dices, ig­no­rant racism — so we wanted to reach out to our Mus­lim brothers and sis­ters.” Ra­madan en­cour­ages those with queries or con­cerns about Is­lam to ask ques­tions and be in­formed. “Have no fear of the Mus­lim com­mu­nity. There’s noth­ing wrong with be­ing a Mus­lim,” he said. “And ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong with Is­lam at all. It does not teach hate or vi­o­lence or ter­ror­ism.”

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