'Hate won't get us anywhere': Hundreds gather across Metro Van to honour lives lost in N.Z. terror attack
Published Saturday, March 16, 2019 4:16PM PDT
A memorial is growing outside the Jamia Masjid mosque on West 8th Avenue in Vancouver.
Hundreds of people turned out for a vigil there Friday night, but throughout the weekend, Vancouverites continue to drop off flowers and cards expressing peace and grief.
Four-year-old twins Lucas and Zachary brought flowers and drawings they’d made. Their mom, Sophia Tuangkitkun, told CTV News she brought them to the mosque to show them the value of empathy and kindness.
"I think they need to know and it's a human thing to do, to be there for people when they're sad and hurting," she said.
The death toll has risen to 50 as of Saturday afternoon. The victims were shot and killed at two separate mosques in New Zealand Friday.
“Every Muslim in this room will be able to tell you at one point in their lifetime, they fear for their lives,” Yasim Ullah said at Friday’s Vancouver vigil.
Many in attendance were also of Jewish faith. “The Pittsburgh shooting is still fresh in our minds,” Carmel Tanaka explained.
Last October, 11 people were gunned down at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Tanaka told CTV News, she came to the mosque Friday to “stand in solidarity.”
Hasan Alam runs the Islamophobia Hotline in Vancouver.
“Hate crimes in Canada are up 150 per cent in the past two years against the Muslim community,” Alam explained. “There were over 300 reported events in the past two years -- that’s nearly one a day.”
Alam wants to see action from our provincial and federal governments, to see policies laid out around hate crimes.
But he said Canadians must also do something when they see hate such as, “speaking out against these sort of crimes when it happens on the bus, when it happens on the street.”
“We are a country that celebrates multiculturalism, diversity but we also need to dig a bit deeper,” he said.
There will be two events on Sunday. A rally is being held at the Vancouver Art Gallery from noon to 2:30 p.m. and Surrey City Hall will be hosting a prayer vigil from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Organizers said all are welcome at both events.