Muslims beef up security, pray for peace

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February 2, 2017 12:00 AM

Public invited to Muslim community prayer in honour of Quebec victims

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community of Lloydminster tightened security at the local Baitul Amaan Mosque in the wake of the mass shooting at the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec City on Sunday night.
Imam of the local mosque, Tariq Azeem,  said his community still feels safe in Canada, and the Quebec incident was just an isolated incident, but it’s also important to be cautious and watchful against any potential danger.
“Generally we do not feel that any such thing is likely to happen in Canada; Canada is our home, we’ve been here for a very long time and we find this country and the people of this country peace loving and tolerant,” Azeem told the Source.
“Yet at the same time it is everyone’s own responsibility to be vigilant and careful to make sure that we try to protect ourselves against all threats.”
Six people were murdered and 17 more injured during the Quebec incident, when a man entered the mosque just before 8 p.m. and started shooting after the end of evening prayers.
When Azeem found out about the attack, he said it was both shocking and confusing because Canada isn’t a place where he’d imagine hateful violence like that happening.
He added in all the experiences his local Muslim community has had in the country, it’s been a peaceful place where people know how to coexist and tolerate the differences between one another.
“Canada, what makes it beautiful, is that we all have our different cultures and religions, yet everybody enjoys living here and enjoys those differences we have amongst one another,” he said. 
“So this incident was definitely a shocking and confusing moment for Muslims in Canada because we don’t expect such hatred and such issues to be seen here.
Locally, Azeem said the people of Lloydminster have always been caring, loving and supportive, and immediately following the attack in Quebec Sunday night, he started getting phone calls and e-mails from various people of all walks of life, including councillors and mayors of surrounding towns showing support. 
He’s even had leaders of different churches around the Border City sending messages and offering condolences.
Const. Grant Kirzinger, media spokesman for the Lloydminster RCMP, said police are aware of the situation and are also being mindful of possible threats locally.
“Anytime there’s an event that has the potential to impact individuals across provinces, then inside of our own community, we make sure we’re always prepared and aware and make sure we have our best practises in place and being diligent with the situation we have,” he said.
Lloydminster’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community is holding a prayer service on Friday to remember those who died at the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec City, and Azeem said the public is welcome to attend.
It’ll be a short five to 10 minute program starting at 1:40 p.m., though people can stay as long as they want, and will be held at the Baitul Amaan Mosque at 4530 50 St.
If anybody has a question they can reach out to the mosque at 306-825-3002.

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