Muslims pray at Alberta legislature for victims of Ottawa, Montreal attacks …

EDMONTON – Nearly 100 Edmonton Muslims visited the Alberta legislature on Friday to offer prayers of sympathy for the families of the victims of attacks in Ottawa and near Montreal last month.

The icy fall wind carried a breathtaking call to prayer as they unrolled their prayer mats, knelt and pressed their foreheads to the ground while small children waved Canadian flags and signs that said “in solidarity.�

“When these types of attacks happen, we all, as Canadians, stand against them,� Imam Bassam Fares said in an interview. “We want to offer our condolences, and show our solidarity with these families.�

Volunteer Murtada Shah helped to organize the event for the Muslim Association of Canada. He said the main message is that Muslims in Edmonton are standing in solidarity with the families who lost loved ones in the attacks, just as all Canadians do.

“As Muslims, we are part of this society, we’ve contributed, some are immigrants and some are born here … we’re Canadians,â€� he said. “We all condemn these types of violence.â€�

Edmonton-Mill Woods PC MLA Sohail Quadri took part in the prayers.

“This was not an attack on our Canadian soldiers, it’s an attack on all of us. We condemn those vicious acts,� Quadri said.

“Those people cannot be Muslim, because the Islam I believe in says that if you kill one human, you kill all humanity.

“This is a very sad moment, but it is also an opportunity for us to build bridges among fellow Canadians, and show them the real Islam, real Muslim values. There is no difference between Canadian values and Muslim values — they are the same.�

In a moving speech to close the ceremony, house Speaker Gene Zwozdesky said: “We do not stand idly by as these kinds of atrocities happen. We stand up … to show who we are, and that these kinds of tragic events must stop.

“I’ve often said that Canada is a prize worth fighting for. Today, you have demonstrated the value of that prize,� Zwozdesky said.

“We do stand with you, together, as brothers and sisters, united by the great country that has brought us all together — Canada.�

Edmonton is home to about 100,000 Muslims and 15 mosques.

kkleiss@edmontonjournal.com

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