Quebec premier under fire for not attending vigil on anniversary of mosque shooting

Courtesy: Francois Legault/ Instagram

It’s a good morning to everyone except Quebec’s premier, apparently. 

Francois Legault is catching some major heat from the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) for being a total no-show at a vigil held to pay respects to Muslim victims of a mass shooting back in 2017. 

Jan. 29 marked the sixth anniversary of the mass murder and a vigil was held at the same mosque where the shootings took place. This was the  first time the vigil was held there.

Six years ago a gunman entered the Islamic Cultural Centre, a mosque in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City, and opened fire, killing six people.

In a Twitter thread posted Monday, the NCCM called out the premier for his noticeable absence and had some concerns.   

The organization also said it would have asked Legault about recent comments he made about Islamophobia.

They also said they would have asked him why he wants to give space to “somewhat racist people” on the same grounds where Muslims lost their lives to Islamophobia.

Additionally, had he attended the ceremony, they would have asked him if he believes the rights and freedoms of minorities are worth less than the majority. 

“It is sad that these are the questions we have to be asking on the anniversary of the Quebec City Mosque massacre,” they added. 

The discourse on Islamophobia in Canada, particularly in Quebec, has made headway for many opinions in the last few years.

This stems from the rise in Muslim hate over the years as well as regulations that infringe upon religious expression.

Right now, Quebec has a law in place, also referred to as Bill 21, that bans government employees, including teachers, police officers and judges, from wearing religious symbols while on the clock. 

Although the law is set in place for all religions, many have said this disproportionately affects Muslim women in particular who wear hijabs, a religious head covering.

To address the rise in Islamophobia across the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently appointed Amira Elghawaby as the country’s first Special Representative on Combating Islamophobia.

However, Quebec’s minister in charge of secularism, Jean-Francois Roberge, whose job is to make sure there is separation between church and state, has recently called on Elghawaby to step down from her role over comments she made in 2019 about Bill 21. 

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