Communities big and small pay tribute to Quebec mosque

Whether it's Iqaluit or Paris, people all over the world display touching tributes to Sunday's tragedy
quebec flag mosque The world joined Quebec in mourning yesterday. (© Juergen Priewe |

The attack on a Quebec City mosque last Sunday evening left Canada in a state of shock. It was a shock that much of the world shared with us. Such tragedies can leave us with many questions and feelings of pain and sadness. But they can also lead to powerful moments of togetherness and strength.

That was the kind of moving display we witnessed on Monday. From world leaders to everyday citizens, from great metropolises to small towns, millions gathered in vigils to express their tributes and thoughts for the Muslim community of Quebec and all of Canada. Not just across the country, but around the globe.

There are so many tributes to choose from, but we think that nowhere showed this range of support as well as this tale of two capital cities: Iqaluit and Paris.

The City of Light turns off the lights

Paris, France is one of the world's largest and most famous cities. It is a city of art, food, culture, and even revolution. And it is one that shares a close relationship to the province of Quebec. Quebec is one of the world's biggest centres of French culture outside of France (it even used to be known as "New France"). You could almost think of Quebec as France's little brother or sister.

Paris is also known as the City of Light. But on Monday evening, it turned off all of the lights on its greatest monument, the Eiffel Tower, in memory of the lives lost in Quebec City.

It was proof that even an ocean away, this is a family that sticks together.

The True North, strong and free

Meanwhile, Iqaluit is one of the world's more isolated cities. The capital of Nunavut is found far in the Canadian North and is so removed that you can't even drive to it by road. And while Nunavut is Canada's newest territory, Iqaluit has been a fishing place for the Inuit people for thousands of years. That's long before Canada existed, and long before the first Europeans even arrived in North America.

But even in a city so remote, a large group gathered at noon yesterday at Iqaluit's only mosque to remember those who lost their lives.

If it doesn't look like that many people compared to some of the gatherings you might have seen on TV, remember this: Iqaluit is home to only 6,699 people.

Moments like these are a time to mourn. But they are also a time that remind us of something important. That while the world may be a big place, you are not alone in it.

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