Jewish community condemns attack on Quebec City mosque

(JTA) – The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and other groups condemned the attack on a Quebec City-area mosque during a prayer service that left six dead and eight wounded.

“The Jewish community is horrified by the murderous shooting at the Sainte-Foy mosque. Nothing justifies the murder of innocent civilians assembled in a place of worship. Our thoughts are with the victims and their relatives, as well as all our fellow Muslim citizens,” said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, co-chair of CIJA-Quebec in a statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the Sunday night attack on the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre, in which gunmen fired on the some 40 people inside, a “terrorist attack on Muslims,” Reuters reported. Two suspects have been arrested.

“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge. Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country,” Trudeau said in a statement.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder in a statement issued early Monday morning called it a “horrific attack” and called for “those who perpetrated this abhorrent act of mass murder” to be “brought to justice.”

Echoing previous statements, Lauder said: “We must not be intimidated by terrorism, but cherish our freedom, including the freedom to worship.  We must defend each other, and we must look after one another: one religious community after the other, one country after the other. The scourge of terrorism won’t be defeated unless we are united in our resolve to defeat it.”

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin joined other world leaders in condemning an attack, first tweeting: “Thoughts & prayers with the Canadian people, @GGDavidJohnston, PM @JustinTrudeau, after the horrific attack on a house of prayer in #Quebec”

British Board of Deputies President Jonathan Arkush, who is travelling the country to promote Jewish-Muslim relations, also condemned the attack. “There can be no justification whatsoever for the wanton slaughter of innocents. We pray for the victims and their families, and call on all communities to redouble efforts to defeat the evils of bigotry and terrorism for good,” he said.

Last June, a pig’s head was left at the mosque, according to Reuters.

The Ottawa Jewish Bulletin contributed to this report.

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