Vignettes of the victims from last week’s mosque attack in Quebec
QUEBEC — Details have emerged about some of the six victims of the Quebec City mosque attack on Jan. 29. Here is some information about them:
Ibrahima Barry: The father of four was a dedicated family man who was always with his children, said his friend, Moussa Sangare.
Barry, 39, who immigrated to Canada from Guinea, worked in information technology at Quebec’s health-insurance board. He supported his immediate and extended family, both in Canada and in Africa.
Barry and Mamadou Tanou Barry, another victim of Sunday’s shooting, came from the same village in Africa and knew each other before immigrating to Canada, Sangare said in an interview.
He said the pair spent a lot of time together and were always smiling and cheerful.
“They were so kind. They worked and practised their faith.
“They were people who were well integrated in Quebec. They had good work, they took care of their kids and their family.”
The two men were cousins, but seemed more like brothers, he said.
Mamadou Tanou Barry: Sangare said his friend’s death “decimated” not one but two families.
“Tanou lost his father three years ago, so it became his responsibility to support not only his family here but also his family in Africa,” Sangare said. “Now that’s all been cut.”
Sangare said he spent the Saturday morning before the attacks with both Barrys in the mosque where the shooting took place, attending a Qur’an reading with their children. After the service they watched their children play together, he recalled.
Barry, 42, leaves behind two boys, both born in Canada following their father’s emigration from Guinea, Sangare said.
The Guinean government posted a statement on its website following the shooting.
“In this painful circumstance, the government of Guinea expresses its deepest sympathy and condolences to the Canadian government, the families of the disappeared, and the entire nation,” it said.
“Guinean representatives in Canada are actively engaged in meeting the families of our compatriots and expressing the support of the nation as a whole.”
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Azzeddine Soufiane: The father of three was a grocer and butcher. Local imam Karim Elabed described him in an interview as an important member of the community — a longtime Quebec City resident who often helped guide newcomers to the provincial capital.
“Mr. Soufiane was someone who was well known in Quebec because he opened one of the first community businesses here,” said Elabed, an imam at a mosque in nearby Levis.
“Myself, when I arrived here eight years ago, (his shop) was the first place I learned about and pretty much all of Quebec’s muslims did their groceries there.”
Ali Ouldache, who arrived in 2007, said Soufiane, 57, was the first person he spoke to when he arrived from France, a little bit lost in his new surroundings.
“It (his store) was really my refuge and we became friends after that,” Ouldache said. “He was a father to everyone, a brother to everyone — very tolerant, very respectful.”
Ouldache said Soufiane was really someone who really loved Quebec — a true Quebecois, who’d called the province home for 30 years.
“He was really likable and generous,” Ouldache said. “It’s a tragedy the way he died.”
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Khaled Belkacemi: A 60-year-old professor at Universite Laval in the food science department.
“Our university community is in mourning,” rector Denis Briere said in a statement. “We mourn the death of an esteemed member of the faculty and the university, a devoted and beloved man of his colleagues and students.”
On his Facebook page, Belkacemi’s son, Amir, said his father was loved by all.
“My father, a good man, an example of resilience, a man loved by all, a professor and researcher emeritus, a fighter, a man who left his country (Algeria) to give his family a chance to live far away from horror.”
Mohamed Labidi, vice-president at the mosque where the attack took place, said Belkacemi was a good friend.
“He wouldn’t have hurt anyone,” Labidi said. “He was so kind and gentle.”
Retired Universite Laval professor Hani Antoun described Belkacemi as a valued colleague and respected scientist.
He said Belkacemi was married to another professor in the department and had two children.
“He was a kind person, someone who was appreciated by everyone,” Antoun said. “He was a renowned scientist who was very well known. It’s an enormous loss.”
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Abdelkrim Hassane: Another father of three who was identified by friend Ali Hamadi. Hamadi said he left the mosque a few minutes before the shooting and that Hassane, 41, was killed.
Hamadi said Hassane worked in information technology for the government and that he was married with three daughters.
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Aboubaker Thabti: Thabti, 44, was a pharmacist by trade of Tunisian origin who had three children.
He’d moved to Quebec about five years ago.
At his funeral, Canada’s prime minister noted he’d hoped to buy a house for his family and was well respected.
— with files from Associated Press
The Canadian Press
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