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Newmarket stands in solidarity with Muslim community

Hundreds of community members and dignitaries attended a vigil yesterday for the 50 people killed in the mosque attacks in New Zealand

Newmarket mourned the loss of the lives of the Muslims killed at worship in their mosques Friday on the other side of the world, while also showing support to the local Muslim community, at a vigil Sunday afternoon.

It was standing room only, with more than 200 people filling the auditorium at the Old Town Hall to share their grief for the 50 people killed by gunmen in the March 15 terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The vigil, organized by the Newmarket Islamic Centre (NIC) and Newmarket community and faith leaders, began with recognition of the Anishinaabe and Wendet Indigenous peoples on whose traditional land the Old Town Hall stands by emcee Noor El-Dassouki of NIC, as well as the national anthem and a moment of silence. 

Remarks were made by Newmarket Islamic Centre Imam Mohammed Beemat, Newmarket-Aurora MPP and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott, Newmarket Mayor John Taylor, NIC board chair Jamal Massadeh for Newmarket-Aurora MP Kyle Peterson, York Regional Police Supt. Michael Slack, Dr. William Cherniak on behalf of the Jewish community, Ranji Singh for the Hindu community, and Shirin Ganji, chair of Global Intersections (formerly the Newmarket Area Interfaith Council).

“We’re all here with very heavy hearts today,” Mayor Taylor said, before calling on Newmarket to do more than condemn the actions of hate and violence.  

“We have to look deep into our community and into ourselves and into our hearts. ...We have to go further, that’s the call to action for all of us.”

He exhorted the community to have the courage to “challenge language that is not inclusive, language that separates” even when it’s awkward to do so.

“We have to deal with it, we have to have those tough conversations because (we) are part of this,” he said.

“We then have to go the next step and we have to embrace language of inclusivity. We have to embrace language that brings us together, a language of solidarity, a language of love and inclusion, and that’s when we’re going to make real progress. That’s the responsibility each of us will walk out of here today with and, hopefully, many people around the world are taking.”

He ended his remarks with a message not only of solidarity but of gratitude to Newmarket’s Muslim community.

“We don’t just tolerate you in our community, we are glad you are here in Newmarket. We are richer for it, we are stronger for it, we are more informed for it,” he said.

“We are here to support you in Newmarket, not just today on a difficult day, but every day, this year, next year and the year after, and together we will stand strong.”

“Thank you to our community, community leaders and YRP (York Regional Police). I couldn’t be more proud of our Newmarket Community,” said Ahmad Elfarram on Facebook after attending the vigil.


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Debora Kelly

About the Author: Debora Kelly

Debora Kelly is NewmarketToday's editor. She is an award-winning journalist and communications professional who is passionate about building strong communities through engagement, advocacy and partnership.
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