National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia

Jan. 29 marks the National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia, designated by the Canadian government to honour the survivors and victims of the vicious assault on worshippers at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Sainte-Foy, Quebec in 2017.

The attack took the lives of Ibrahima Barry, 39, Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, and Azzedine Soufiane, 57.

“The lasting suffering caused by this hateful act, forever impacting the families of the victims, survivors, and the community at large, is immeasurable,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “This brazen act of violence was a stark reminder of the depths of intolerance existing within our society. While we mourn, we must pledge never to become complacent in the presence of hatred.”  

In December 2020, a memorial honouring victims was unveiled a short distance from the mosque. Titled “Vivre Ensemble” or “Live Together,” it was designed by artist Luce Pelletier and features three stone plinths, connected by silver leaves at the top. The names of the six men who died that night are inscribed in those stones. The memorial also features a place to sit and meditate.

Multiple events are taking place locally to honour the victims and to learn more about Islamophobia.

On Jan. 25, a discussion panel titled “What does Islamophobia look like TODAY?,” will be hosted by Muslim Societies, Global Perspectives, Queen’s University. The panel features Adnan Husain (Queen’s University) and guests Hatem Bazian (U.C. Berkeley), Dana Olwan (Syracuse University), and Ariel Salzmann (Queen’s University). The virtual event begins at 6 p.m.

On Jan. 29, the Islamic Centre of Kingston, will host a program featuring prayers for peace and remembrance of the victims of the shooting. The event, which begins at 6 p.m., is open to all faith leaders and friends.

Also on that date, the City of Kingston will illuminate City Hall green in recognition of the commemoration.

"Je me souviens" An Evening with Artist Aquil Virani will take place Jan. 31. This is a presentation from the artist who created the commemorative portrait series honouring the victims of the attack.  

Derived from this tragedy is the Green Square Campaign. The colour green represents the green carpet inside the mosque where the shooting took place. It also symbolizes the hope that each of the six victims will have found themselves in a better place – a green garden – in the afterlife.

“This moment reminds us that the impacts of hate are visceral and real,” says Stephanie Simpson, Vice-Principal (Culture, Equity, and Inclusion). “Tackling Islamophobia means being prepared to educate ourselves and to challenge inequitable and hateful behaviour whenever we encounter it.”

Note: This story originally appeared in the Queen's Gazette.