Canadians mark anniversary of Quebec mosque shooting

Memorials to mark the second anniversary of the Quebec City mosque shooting are being held Tuesday in major cities in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canadians everywhere mourn the loss of life and the brutal way in which those lives were stolen.

"Two years ago tonight, six people were killed and 19 others were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Centre Cultural Islamique de Quebec in Ste-Foy," he said in a statement. "On this anniversary, I join Canadians across the country to grieve those we lost and honour their memory. We hold the victims in our hearts, along with their families and loved ones, and all those whose lives were marked by this tragedy."

It also brought a renewed call from the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) to recognize the day nationally.

"The NCCM continues to call upon the federal government to designate January 29 as a National Day of Action Against Hate and Intolerance as a way to remember the victims and show solidarity with other communities affected by hatred, bigotry and racism, including Islamophobia," the organization said in a statement. Trudeau did not address that request in his statement.

It was the evening of Jan. 29, 2016 in the Quebec City mosque that Alexandre Bissonnette walked in and opened fire with his .223-calibre semi-automatic rifle with two illegal magazines. The weapon could fire 30 rounds in succession.

After the rifle jammed, the killer took out a 9-mm pistol and resumed shooting. Bissonnette was 28 when he pleaded guilty to the murders in court in March 2018.

In court, he asked for "forgiveness for all the harm I caused" and added, "I don't know why I committed such a senseless act."

He is due in court Feb. 8 for sentencing.

Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the NCCM, said it is necessary to "continue creating an increasingly peaceful and just Canada where people from all faith and non-faith backgrounds feel safe and welcome."

Last year, the ceremony to mark the attack was held outdoors at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, but today's will be moved indoors at Laval University due to bitter cold weather.

Ceremonies are also being held in Calgary, Vancouver, Kingston, Ottawa, St. John's Nfld., Winnipeg and several Toronto communities.

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