Vancouver city councillor introducing motion to mark Quebec Mosque massacre

Jan 20 2020, 6:08 pm

Vancouver City Councillor Jean Swanson will bring forward a motion at the city council meeting on Tuesday, January 21 to designate January 29 as a Day of Remembrance and Action Against Islamophobia to mark the third anniversary of the Quebec Mosque massacre.

“We hope that in designating this day, the City of Vancouver will make a commitment to develop a policy and action to fight Islamophobia and all other forms of bigotry,” said Imtiaz Popat from the Coalition Against Bigotry.

In her motion, Swanson seeks to have council declare January 29 as a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia with a proclamation, and add it to its official observances calendar.

The motion also seeks to have the city “reach out to the Muslim community and collaborates to hold a time for prayer and/or moment of silence on January 29 at City Hall, with participation from Mayor and Council.” Swanson also wants to see the flags at City hall lowered to half mast on that day to commemorate the victims.

It was on January 29, 2017, that a gunman entered the Islamic Cultural Centre mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on dozens of Muslim worshipers.

By the time the shooting had ended, six people had been tragically killed and 19 more were injured: Ibrahima Barry, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Abdelkrim Hassane, and Azzedine Soufiane lost their lives that night.

“Muslim communities across Canada were, and continue to be, affected by this and other acts of hate, racism, white supremacy, and Islamophobia—including the anti-Islam rally planned for August 19, 2017, outside Vancouver City Hall,” Swanson’s motion reads. “To commemorate January 29, Muslim communities in Vancouver have held vigils, discussions, and other events, including an annual vigil during evening prayers at the Vancouver Al-jamia Mosque on 8th Ave, which is the oldest mosque in BC.

Swanson’s motion also notes that cities of Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Hamilton, and Windsor have all designated January 29 as a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.

“Many municipalities across Canada commemorate the events of January 29 with their Muslim community partners, and there is a nation-wide campaign for the federal government to recognize the day nationally,” her motion adds.