In a show of solidarity with the Muslim community, dozens of people formed a protective “human chain” around the Ottawa Mosque in Canada’s capital city before Friday prayers, after six died in a shooting in Quebec City.
The gesture delivered a strong message of condemning racism, division, and Islamophobia. People arriving for Friday prayers and demonstrators exchanged the Muslim greeting “as-salam alaikum.”
Talking to CBC, Imam Samy Metwally said: “It gives us … hope because it’s a sign of unity, which is real Canada.”
A resident of the mosque’s vicinity, Andrea Prazmowski, who helped organize the event, said the chain symbolized an “embrace.”
“We want them to know that they’re not alone and for every act of hatred we need to have hundreds and hundreds of acts of friendship and love,” she said.
“We have to just drown out the hatred.” Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson, spoke to the mosque’s Imam and community leaders.
In a statement to the demonstrators, he said: “The horror of this act of terrorism has left us all heartbroken. When one group is faced with hatred, we must all respond to denounce them. When one is targeted, we are all targeted.”
The Champlain Park Community Association, which was part of the organizers of the event, is encouraging residents to report suspicious activity near the mosque.