City of Kingston commemorates Quebec Mosque attack

‘Trust in God, but tie up your camel’

Mona Rahman speaks to significance of Jan. 29.
Credit: 
The Toronto Star

This article discusses terrorism and Islamophobia and may be triggering for some readers. Naseeha Mental Health Hotline can be reached at 1-866-627-3342.

Last year, the federal government declared Jan. 29 as the National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia.

In honour of the day, the City of Kingston will be holding an illumination ceremony at City Hall on Saturday.

Mona Rahman, a member of the Islamic resources committee at the Islamic Society of Kingston (ISK), discussed the significance of the upcoming event in an interview with The Journal.

“It’s something that has been pushed for the government to do,” Rahman said. “I think one of the problems with these types of acts—Islamophobia, that is—is it doesn’t get acknowledged for what it is.”

“On Saturday, which is the fifth anniversary of the [Quebec] attack, what we’ve been doing as a community is gathering people […] to share prayers, to remember the victims, and pray for peace and remembrance.”

According to Rahman, Kingston religious leaders from many faiths will be attending to share prayers and words from their own traditions.

City Hall will be illuminated in green and purple this year.

The colour green is a nod to the Green Square Campaign, which represents the green carpets of the Quebec City Mosque where the victims last stood to pray.

ISK added the colour purple to honour the Afzaal family from London, Ontario, in remembrance of the hate crime that claimed their lives on Jun. 6. The Afzaal family has relatives here in Kingston.

“When we saw that you could have a secondary color, we thought we’d choose purple to honour Yumnah Afzaal and her family,” Rahman said. “She was an artistic soul—as was her grandmother— and purple was her favorite colour.”

Purple also serves to recognize the Quebec Mosque shooting isn’t the only violent act of Islamophobia in recent memory.

“Since then, we’ve seen people killed in Toronto, we’ve seen people killed in London, […] we’re seeing Black Muslim women in particular being targeted in the West,” Rahman said.

Rahman recalled that after the attack in Quebec many Muslims in Kingston were afraid to return to the mosque.

“We have a saying in our tradition, where the Prophet Muhammad said to ‘trust in God but to tie up your camel,’ which means you take all the precautions.”

While it’s important for folks to protect themselves however possible, Rahman won’t let anyone take away the feelings of “sanctuary and peace” from the Kingston community. 

“I think we’ve just all became a little more hesitant, a little more careful. There’s a risk that you become a little paranoid, and I’m trying to avoid that.”

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