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Canadians Form ‘Rings of Peace’ Around Mosques

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thestar.com

In response to the deadly shooting at a Mosque in Quebec last week, Canadians have rallied around the Muslim community to show their support, forming “rings of peace” around the perimeter of mosques all over the country.

When Muslims throughout Canada visited their local mosque on Friday for their first prayers since last week’s shooting, their fellow Canadians of all different faiths formed a circle around the building to show Muslims that they are supported and protected.

“No Canadian should be afraid to go to their house of worship to pray,” said Yael Splansky, a rabbi who helped organize “rings of peace” at several Toronto mosques. “It’s a terrifying scene. Imagine people of faith going to pray in peace, to pray for peace, and to be at risk. Houses of worship are sacred and must be protected.”

Splansky says the idea was inspired by Muslims doing something similar with synagogues in Norway in 2015 following a string of antisemitic attacks in other parts of Europe.

Muslims throughout Canada have been in awe of the support they’ve received over the past week, particularly from people of other faiths.

“To see there are people out there — Jews, Christians, people of other faiths or no particular faith, who really care about the Muslim community — I think that says a lot and it’s really reassuring,” said Ilyas Ally, an assistant imam from Toronto.

Much like in the United States, there has been an increase in anti-Muslim speech and activity in recent years. However, the support shown to Muslims in recent days is an indication that the people of Canada remain accepting and welcoming of people from all walks of life.

“Although this tragedy has taken irreparable toll on Muslims across the country, the kindness and generosity of fellow Canadians has been a great source of comfort,” said Syed Pirzada of the Muslim Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Canada has spoken: no to hate, no to bigotry, no to religious violence, no to intolerance.”