Calgarians gather for vigil at City Hall for New Zealand mosques shooting victims
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Calgarians gather for vigil at City Hall for New Zealand mosques shooting victims

Last Updated Mar 15, 2019 at 8:11 pm MDT

Summary

Police took 3 men and a woman into custody after the shootings

A man who claimed responsibility for the shootings left a 74-page anti-immigrant manifesto explaining his reasoning

Vigils have been held throughout the city on Friday

CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Calgarians of all faiths gathered at a vigil this evening to mourn the 49 people killed in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. They lit candles and brought signs to show their solidarity against hateful acts like this, and also to promote messages of love, hope and healing.

One of the attendees, Ziad Akl, was hopeful that the violence would stop. “It was a very sad day today feeling that so many people were killed and injured in very safe New Zealand,” he said. “We feel very sorry for the losses and hopefully more cooperation will be done between different religions to prevent such crimes in the future.”

 

For Saima Jamal, one of the vigil organizers, it’s about standing up to hatred. She also points out that the community needs to show unity to combat acts of hate that are not just online anymore, they are happening in real life.

“Only light can drive out darkness,” she said. “We need everybody to come and stand up against these alt-right, white, supremacist terrorist types and put a stop to this.”

 

A large crowd gathered at City Hall in downtown Calgary to stand up against hatred and to remember the victims of the New Zealand mosques shootings. Source: Devon McKendrick/660 NEWS

The vigil drew members of the community including Greg Clark, MLA for Calgary-Elbow.

“I think it’s important that all of us come together, show up and make sure that everyone understands that they are welcome,” Clark said. “Muslims and people of all faiths should feel safe, and I think it’s important to be here.”

READ MORE: Mass shootings at New Zealand mosques kill 49; 1 man charged

 

It will be difficult for her and other Muslims around the world to return to prayer, she said, as that is where the victims were slaughtered.

“How do you walk into a mosque and relive everything that happened in Christchurch?” she said. “It’s a terrifying moment, it’s a distressing moment, it’s a moment where all kinds of emotions are going through.”

She hopes people can share their grief and heartache in order to lessen the devastation within the community.

READ MORE: ‘Hello brother,’ first New Zealand mosque victim said to shooter

Hundreds of people gathered at City Hall to remember the victims of the New Zealand mosques shootings. Source: Tom Ross/660NEWS