The Muslim community of Québec are looking for a way to give back after the gestures of solidarity that followed the shooting
In order to give thanks to the generous souls who donated blood and saved lives during the attack on the mosque in Québec City, the Islamic Cultural Center organized a major gathering, “a gesture of humanity” says Héma-Québec.
On the evening of January 29th, six people were killed at an Islamic center in Québec City, when an armed man entered the place of worship.
At least 20 people were injured. Among them, five Muslim practitioners were saved thanks to blood donors and Héma-Québec’s blood bank.
It was Hicham Berouel and Imene Cherti who approached the organization so that a blood drive could be held at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec.
“We wanted to demonstrate how we could respond to what happened here. It is a way of thanking people who gave blood and saved lives. It is normal to thank them,” explained Hicham Berouel, arguing that the Muslim community had to respond to this “isolated criminal act” by implicating themselves in a positive way in the Québec community.
Other blood drives will be organized in the coming years, mainly due to the high popularity of the event. The appointment schedules were quickly filled for the two-day gathering, which took place on Thursday and Friday.
On the other hand, the Muslim community is already giving a lot of blood, for reasons pertaining to their values and beliefs. “Giving blood means giving life. In the Muslim religion, saving a life is like saving all of humanity,” Berouel said.
Mohamed Labidi, vice president of the mosque, said he was very proud of his community and of their reaction when facing adversity in recent months.
“It is a beautiful and great humanistic gesture for us. It is a gesture of solidarity,” he said.
Mohamed Amine Aarab was the first to donate. It was his first ever blood donation. “I come to volunteer. I want to save lives,” he said.
In total, nearly 40 people donated blood at the Islamic Cultural Center.
WHAT THEY SAID
“Giving blood means giving life. It (the blood drive) was organized by my community and I felt a sort of calling. One must answer to violence with love.”
– Kamadou Mdpati
“This helps get everything back to normal. It is a gesture of gratitude to Québec community, from which we saw a great gesture of solidarity and sympathy during the tragedy.”
– Mohamed Labidi, vice president of the mosque
“It’s a good initiative. It helps to help each other. It is for all Quebecers. We are Quebecers and we have to help each other. It is our duty to give blood.”
– Zachary Ouslama, accompanied by her two children at Friday prayer
“It’s a good example of a gathering. It shows that we are open and very close to each other.”
– Angela Jalba, who unfortunately could not give due to her hemoglobin
ATTACK OF QUEBEC ON JANUARY 29, 2017
Khaled Belkacemi, 60 years old
Azzeddine Soufiane, 57 years old
Abdelkrim Hassane, 41 years old
Aboubaker Thabti, 44 years old
Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42 years old
Ibrahima Barry, 39 years old
5 wounded who received blood donations
Still in the hospital: Aymen Derbali
The suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, worked for Héma-Québec.
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