Bitter cold was broken by hundreds of glowing candles in Belleville’s Market Square on Thursday night, as citizens gathered in support of Belleville’s Muslim Community.
The candlelight vigil, which began with a walk from the Belleville Islamic Centre at Moira and Coleman Streets, was organized by the city’s inclusivity committee, in the wake of the terrorist attack in Quebec City, which killed six people.
The vigil featured remarks from various local politicians, an inter-faith prayer from Dr. Aruna Alexander and an address from Imam Mohammed Saleh, who told the enormous crowd that “we are all united under the flag of Canada”.
Among the crowd were Barrett and Anne Brown, who like most in attendance, were in awe of the number of people who came to show their support.
They told Quinte News they felt compelled to show their support, after hearing news of the attack.
Also in the crowd was Belleville-Syria Connection’s Melissa Wakeling and a refugee family, who have been in Canada for less than six months.
She says while it comes from tragic circumstance, an event like this shows just how inclusive a country Canada is.
In the ultimate show of patriotism, the night ended with an impromptu rendition of O Canada, started by voices in the crowd.
Mayor Taso Christopher also announced the city flag that’s been flying at half mast at City Hall since the tragedy, will be taken down and framed and hand delivered to the mosque in Quebec City, by himself and Imam Saleh.
Some of the remarks from the vigil can be heard below.
Address from Imam Mohammed Saleh:
Interfaith Prayer from Dr. Aruna Alexander: