Area residents rally against hate

It's estimated at least 3-thousand people gathered outside Victoria City Hall to show solidarity with the local Muslim community.

Residents of all ages, and ethnicities showed up outside city hall, some with signs proclaiming which church they had come from to support Muslims -- Like Esquimalt United, and First Metropolitan.  Others carried signs declaring "I love my neighbour" and "Coexist,today I am Muslim".  They expressed their sadness over the shootings at a Quebec Mosque. Some said they wanted to show immigrants they are welcome here.  Many were like this woman, who says she doesn't normally attend rallies -- but today was different:

"Today it just seemed really important to show some solidarity and just in some small way say this isn't what Canadians are all about, this doesn't represent us, and that refugees are welcome. "

Another woman who showed up, Hannah Gaddafi, is a Muslim. She had tears running down her face and she accepted hugs from people in the crowd.

Mayor Lisa Helps asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the Quebec shooting, and  proclaimed we all love our Muslim residents. 

The Imam from the Victoria Mosque thanked residents for showing their support, and called on Canadians to raise their voices against the rising tide of hate we are seeing around the world.

The event wrapped up as the crowd broke into a spontaneous singing of "O Canada".

 

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