QUEBEC—A mass shooting that killed six men at a Quebec City mosque is a grim reminder that hateful words seeking to exclude or demean others can have tragic consequences, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a funeral service for three of the victims.
“It’s high time those behind these message—whether they are politicians, radio or TV hosts or other public personalities—realize the harm their words can cause,” Trudeau said, prompting a wave of applause.
“Confronted with these words that hurt and exclude, it falls on us to defend the values that are important to us,” he said.
“Every one of us is responsible for leading the fight against injustice and discrimination in daily life, for acting in a way that represents who we are, that represents Canada, that represents the country that Azzedine Soufiane, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry loved so much.”
Trudeau said Tanou Barry, 42, Barry, 39, and Soufiane, 57, were extraordinary men who loved their families, their communities and their faith.
The prime minister was speaking to several thousand mourners this afternoon at the Quebec City convention centre.
The Barry men were from Guinea, while Soufiane came from Morocco.
The service comes a day after a similar service in Montreal for Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, Khaled Belkacemi, 60, and Aboubaker Thabti, 44, the three other people shot to death in the carnage.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume also addressed the mourners.
The ceremony was preceded by a prayer session.
The six victims were killed when a gunman stormed the mosque and opened fire on men who were attending prayer. Authorities have refused to specify what type of firearm was used in the mass shooting.
On his way into Friday’s service, Trudeau told reporters it is important to remember the lives “taken from us so brutally in the terrorist attack last Sunday.”
“Over the past week we have been reminded multiple times of the warmth, of the strength, of the unity of Canadians,” he said. “And we’ve seen the silent majority of people who are good and welcoming and open to one another is choosing to be less and less silent.”
Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was arrested Sunday night following the massacre in which 19 people were also wounded.
Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm.