Respects paid to the victims of the Quebec City mosque attack inside Montreal's city hall

Dignitaries and religious leaders of all stripes gathered inside Montreal's City Hall this afternoon to pay their respects to the families of the victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting.

One year ago today, six men lost their lives on when a gunman entered the mosque and opened fire during evening prayer.

"It is important for the community of Montreal and for me as the mayor, to create the space, working with the different actors in the different communities, to honour those who lost their lives, and to send a message to the families and everybody that is watching us right now, that Montreal is a safe space; it is an inclusive space," Mayor Valerie Plante said to reporters before the ceremony.

The ceremony was solemn, but forceful. Religious leaders and advocates took turns calling on citizens and political leaders to do more to protect Quebec's minority communities.

"We have had one year pass since these events have happened. We have seen moments of hope, we've also seen moments of despair," said Sameer Zouberi, who spoke from the podium on behalf of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association. Zouberi criticized the passage of Bill 62, which bans face coverings while giving or receiving public services, citing it as an example of how the provincial government has missed the mark in the year that has followed the deadly attack.

"We have not seen much progress in our province, unfortunately, to address the issue of discrimination towards Muslims, which we have to call islamophobia," Zouberi said. He praised Mayor Plante for her decision to mark January 29th as a day to push back against islamophobia, and called on the provincial government to do the same.

Premier Philippe Couillard dismissed calls for a provincial day of remembrance in December, saying there was already a day dedicated to combatting discrimination.

Ceremonies were held across the province today to attack. In Quebec City, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a ceremony, alongside Premier Couillard and Mayor Plante.