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Vigil held in Toronto calls on Canadians to stand against islamophobia

Attendees hold anti-islamophobia signs during a vigil in Nathan Phillips Square. The vigil is being held to commemorate the victims of a mosque shooting which took place in New Zealand on Friday. Photo by Nolan Graham.

A vigil in Nathan in Philips Square was held on Friday to pay respects to those lost in the Christchurch shooting which killed forty-nine people. The vigil, which as organized mere hours after news of the attack, acted as both a commemoration of the victims as well as a protest against islamophobia and all other hate related violence.

The ceremony, which took place on a rainy Friday evening, gathered a large crowd, and included several speakers from various positions in the community. Rima Berns-McGowan, a Toronto MPP, spoke both to remember the victims as well as emphasis the seriousness of the situation.

"How do we get to the place, where somebody is gleefully live-streaming this heinous act?" McGowan said infront of the crowd.

Reverend Alexa Gilmour, who also spoke at the ceremony, talked about the importance of mourning those who were lost to begin the process of healing.

"We come here tonight to mourn and to know that in the prayers of this community ... healing is found," said Gilmour.

The news of the attack struck many Canadians as a reminder of the Quebec mosque shooting which killed 6 people in 2017. Friday's demonstration served as a call to action for Canadians to push back against hateful ideologies such as islamophobia.

"There can be no platform for islamophobes and anti-semites and racists," said McGowan.

The MPP also announces plans for a bill that would designate a day to remember the victims of the Quebec Shooting and raise awareness to combat islamophobia.