Montreal mosque recently targeted hosts commemoration for Quebec City mosque attack

"We should go outside and speak loud. And it's our right to pray," said Samer Elniz of the Muslim Association of Canada, at a commemoration for the Quebec City mosque attack, held in Verdun. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

By Alyssia Rubertucci

Montreal’s Muslim community is starting their commemorations for the sixth anniversary of the Quebec City mosque attack, when a gunman shot at worshippers during evening prayers on January 29, 2017, leaving six dead.

The MAC Islamic Center of Verdun hosted a gathering Friday, almost one month after the building and two worshippers were targeted by a man seemingly trying to force his way inside.

Samer Elniz, communications co-ordinator for the Muslim Association of Canada in Quebec, said the incident put fear into Muslims in Verdun, as it was reminiscent of how the Quebec City mosque was targeted before the attack.

“We remember 29 of January and we remember the act of Islamaphobia that happened here one month ago,” he said.

A man is seen on surveillance video Dec. 30, 2022, insulting worshippers, trying to enter the Islamic Center of Verdun. (Credit: Canadian Muslim Forum/Forum Musulman Canadien)

Video surveillance posted to social media Dec. 30 showed two male worshippers heading into the building on Verdun street. One seems to have their phone out, possibly filming the incident.

Suddenly, the video shows a man then running across the street after them, cutting in front of a car. He then seemingly tried to force his way into the door of the building, as held at the worshippers while they held the door shut.

Before leaving, he reportedly made threats to the worshippers, insulting their faith. A police investigation is ongoing.

“It’s still not settled, It’s always fear and worry. And we’re here so we don’t forget and it doesn’t happen again,” said Ahmed Toubal, worshipper at the Islamic Center of Verdun.


“I’m just here after the prayer, just to support my brothers, Muslims from all around the world with my son,” said Muhamad Ndiaya.

“I knew the pain of people like what they suffer,” said Sadef Shahab. “So that’s why I’m here to share the pain.” 


READ MORE: Muslim Awareness Week: launch of events to counter Islamophobia in Quebec

Friday’s event in Verdun will be held in conjunction to Muslim Awareness Week and the National Day of Remembrance of the Québec City Mosque Attack and Action against Islamophobia, which is on Sunday.

Earlier in the morning, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said there is still work to be done.

“In Quebec, even though we are an inclusive and open minded society, we need to recognize and work on systemic racism that includes Islamophobia as well,” she said.

“Islamophobia kill innocent people and therefore, we should take actions against it,” said Elniz. “We should not have fear. We should not isolate ourselves, we should go outside and speak loud and it’s our right to to pray.”

“Muslims are peaceful community, so we just want to live with peace,” said Ndiaya.

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