Candlelight vigil at Kelowna mosque

Candlelight vigil response to terrorist attack

Hundreds of local residents gathered Monday night inside and outside the Kelowna Islamic Centre to grieve

Hundreds of local residents gathered Monday night inside and outside the Kelowna Islamic Centre to grieve for those killed in the shocking act of terrorism carried out at a Quebec City mosque barely 24 hours earlier.

Politicians and community members took turns at the microphone to speak with a common theme–expressing their dismay at the mass shooting that left six people dead and many others injured, and reiterating the message that peace and love will always overcome hatred and violence.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said he has felt many different emotions these past few days—anger, sadness and confusion—sentiments created both by the terrorist attack on Canadian soil and U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from seven identified countries and all refugees from entering the country.

“It feels like we have taken a step backward, it seems,” Basran said.

The mayor said he was buoyed by the turnout for the candlelight vigil representing a diversity of religious faiths, age demographic and cultural backgrounds.

“Kelowna has an opportunity to be a beacon for others, of showing acceptance and love for one another, regardless of our differences,” he said.

He said our community is drawn together by love and not split apart by hate.

Coun. Mohini Singh, overcome with emotion during her brief speech, said what happened in Quebec City— a reflection of hatred, violence and intolerance— is not the Canadian way.

“We can navigate through this…if see stand together and not be divided by love and hate.”

MLA Norm Letnick said his thoughts in the aftermath of the Quebec City shooting went back to his mother, a Catholic, and father, a Jew, fleeing from Russia prior to the outbreak of the Second World War for their own safety.

“I feel a deep sadness for my relatives who did not escape, and did not survive those times, but our faith in God is about love and believing in forgiveness,” he said.

“For all of us, we must learn to forgive each other, day to day, month to month and year to year.”

Letnick brought a little levity to the proceedings when he interrupted his speech to pass along a message from a tow truck driver that someone owning a Mercedes was about to have their car towed for being illegally parked.

“Hopefully that tow truck driver will feel a little forgiveness and let the owner of the Mercedes remain with us and pray,” he said.

Norah Bowman, an Okanagan College instructor and former federal NDP candidate, said she was heartbroken by what transpired at the Quebec City mosque.

Bowman said she has struggled with her emotions, not knowing how to explain what happened to her young son, to her students, to her friends and family.

“What I am left with his feelings of sorrow and anger. I ask for humility from God to help me overcome these negative feelings I have right now, and to feel the love and compassion that is all around us in our own community,” Bowman said.

A pastor at a local church spoke about how easy it is to feel alone when struggling through times of grief and sadness.

“The response you see here tonight, of people gathered together to offer support, shows that you are never alone,” he said.

Pat Munro, who stood outside the Kelowna mosque holding a placard sign during the ceremony, said she was motivated to join the candlelight vigil to support freedom of spirituality.

“It was just horrible what happened (in Quebec City.) It was just horrible for those poor people and their poor families. Just terrible,” she said.

Just Posted

JoeAnna’s House fundraising campaign reaches $4.5 million

Offering ‘home away from home’ for families of KGH patients

2014 murder case finally goes to trial

Steven Randy Pirko was charged with second-degree murder in 2016

Flood recovery work set to begin in Kelowna

The first phase of $5 million dollar flood recovery plan for Upper Vernon Creek will begin on Monday

Kelowna exhibition showcases nature of Haida Gwaii

The Kelowna Art Gallery is holding a reception for Gwaii Haanas – Islands and Sacred Sites Friday

Accused in Kelowna murder heads to court

Chad Alphonse is accused of killing Waylon Percy Junior Jackson, back in 2016

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Dube, Foote pace Rockets to O.T. win

World junior gold medalists key in 4-3 victory Wednesday over Lethbridge

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

Public asked to report bat sightings

White nose syndrome leads to bats flying in winter or death.

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Song penned for Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Curling Time released to celebrate Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

Most Read