Faith and political leaders condemned a shooting at Quebec’s main mosque that left at least six people dead.
Vigils are scheduled to take this evening in Quebec City and Montreal, one night after two men entered the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center and opened fire, killing at least six men who were praying and injuring 19 more.
Police later arrested two suspects, two men aged between 20 and 30. The motive behind the attack remained unclear.
Pope Francis met with Quebec Archbishop Cardinal Gerald Lacroix in Rome today and assured him of his prayers for the victims of the attack on the mosque. A Vatican statement said the Pope highlighted the importance of Christians and Muslims remaining united in prayer in these moments.
Afterward, the cardinal immediately departed for Canada.
Archbishop Christian Lepine of Montreal said: “Nothing can justify such murderous acts aimed at innocent people. We are called to say again that, whatever our beliefs are, as human beings we are all brothers and sisters, all equal in dignity.”
The Anglican bishops of Quebec City and Montreal were in Canterbury, England, when the attack occurred.
In a joint statement on the shooting, Coadjutor Bishop Bruce Myers of Quebec and Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson of Montreal said: “Along with our grief and prayers we are called as disciples of Jesus to express our solidarity with our neighbors who are Muslim.
“We wish to express directly to our Muslim neighbors in Quebec our grief and repugnance at this brutal act of violence against another community of faith, and one in the midst of prayer. When one is attacked, we are all attacked, and our whole society is diminished.”
The mosque had been targeted by hate crimes in the past. A few months ago, a pig’s head was left at the front door, sparking indignation throughout the city.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: “It was with tremendous shock, sadness and anger that I heard of this evening’s tragic and fatal shooting,” he said. “We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge.”