Friends of Quebec City shooting victims to continue praying in targeted mosque
QUEBEC — A small Quebec City apartment block turned into a place of mourning on Tuesday as members of the Guinean Muslim community gathered to remember two of the six victims of last weekend’s mosque shooting.
In the lobby, flowers rested on a small wooden table next to a sign commemorating Ibrahima Barry and Mamadou Tanou Barry, who lived in separate apartments with their families.
Souleymane Bah, the head of Quebec City’s Guinean association, helped to co-ordinate the flood of visitors arriving to pay their respects.
A regular at the mosque where the shooting took place, Bah said that while the small Guinean community of between 300 and 400 people is afraid, all want to return to their place of worship.
“It’s very important to return, that’s clear,” he said. “You can’t be scared of death because you cannot escape it. What’s really horrible is leaving orphans behind.”
The two Barry men, who aren’t related despite the common name, left behind six kids.
Ibrahima was also just about to become a Canadian citizen.
“He finished his test, all that was left was the ceremony,” Bah said.
Bah said the six bodies are in a Montreal morgue for autopsies and that the families were told they could possibly have access to the bodies on Tuesday or Wednesday.
There is also talk of a joint funeral ceremony for the six men, although it is unclear when it might happen.
“I spoke with the president of the mosque, he is a friend,” said Bah. “We want to co-ordinate the commemorations together for communal prayers. And then we’ll decide where they will be buried.”
Tanou’s family is considering burying him in Montreal, while Ibrahima might be flown to Guineau, said another family friend.
Harouna Diallo was among the friends of Ibrahima and Tanou who gathered in a third unit of the apartment building, also home to a Guinean family.
Diallo too, said he will return to the mosque to pray.
“We can’t be afraid of death,” he said. “We don’t want to die right away, but if death finds us at the mosque that’s OK with me.”
“It’s more important than ever to return to the mosque. For me, it’s where I am comfortable, even after what happened.”
Lamine Nabe said his kids are still asking about the shooting and if they can return.
“You’re never 100 per cent safe, anywhere,” he said. “It won’t be like before, but certainly we will go back to pray.”
Earlier in the day, Mouafek Abada had tears in his eyes as he walked back to his car from the memorial outside the mosque.
He pointed to his phone and said he has been in contact with the wife of his friend, Aymen, who was shot five times in the chest on Sunday.
“He may never walk again,” said Abada, who comes from Tunisia. “He had two surgeries yesterday (Monday) and one today (Tuesday).”
When asked if he will return to the mosque to pray, he said, “I don’t know,” before breaking down in tears.
He then wiped his eyes, composed himself, and quickly changed his mind.
“Yes, yes, I will go,” he said. “We can’t be scared. We can’t stop living because of this. I will return — certainly.”
Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old university student, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder in the shooting.
Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
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