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Quebec mosque reopens still spattered in blood from shooting


The Quebec City mosque that was the scene of a deadly shooting on Sunday has opened its doors for the first the since the attack.

In the Islamic centre, blood smeared the floor and walls and bullet holes could still be seen in the aftermath of the carnage.

Worshippers said they wanted to show the world the scene of the crime.

Alleged gunman Alexandre Bissonette, 27, has been charged with six counts of murder and five of attempted murder.

A worshipper weeps as he prays at the reopened Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre
A worshipper weeps as he prays at the reopened Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre

Mosque vice-president Mohamed Labidi, in an emotional news conference, said they were opening the mosque to show the consequences of hate and Islamophobia.

He said they had been “attacked in the heart of their community”.

Mr Labadi also described the courage of one of the victims, Azzedine Soufiane, 57, who died trying to protect other worshippers as the gunman entered the mosque on Sunday during evening prayers.

“He was safe behind the column there and when he see that the attacker recharge his gun he ran quickly to immobilise him,” said Mr Labadi.

Blood is seen in the storage room of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre
Blood in the storage room of the mosque

“But the attacker was more quick and he go back and shot him directly in his body and he fell down here. Fell down here as a hero.”

He pointed to a patch of blood on the floor.

“Without his intervention, we would have more martyrs.”

Mr Soufiane ran a halal butcher shop in the suburb of Sainte-Foy, down the street from the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, and has been described as an important member of the local Muslim community.

The six worshippers who died were immigrants who had moved to Quebec to seek a better life.

The other victims were Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, Ibrahima Barry, 39, and Aboubaker Thabti, 44.

Montreal will hold a public funeral on Thursday for three victims on Thursday in the 5,000-seat hockey arena in the city’s Olympic park.

The bodies of Mr Hassane, Mr Thabti and Mr Belkacemi will then be repatriated to their respective native countries for burial because of a lack of local Islamic cemeteries.

Mr Abdelkrim and Mr Belkacemia both emigrated to Canada from Algeria. Mr Thabti moved to Canada from Tunisia a decade ago.

In the wake of the deadly shooting, Quebecers and their political leaders rallied around the province’s Muslim community, with thousands attending vigils to commemorate those killed and injured.

BBC News