Skip to main content

Canada Worshippers open doors to attacked Quebec City mosque, share their sorrows

Blood stains mark the wall inside the Centre culturel islamique de Québec.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

GRAPHIC WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.

Blood stains form dark patches on the carpet. Bullets pierce gaps in the plate glass outer walls. Two days after the attack on a Quebec City mosque that left six worshippers dead, members returned to their sanctuary late Tuesday to behold the gruesome carnage left behind.

They gathered inside Quebec City's main mosque and opened it to outsiders, offering a glimpse into the violence visited on ordinary citizens gathered in prayer inside a house of worship.

Story continues below advertisement

"It was important for me to be here. It confirms it wasn't a dream," Mohamed Haroun, treasurer of the Centre culturel islamique de Québec, said as he walked through the prayer room. "At times, it just seemed like a nightmare."

Explainer: The Quebec City mosque attack: What we know so far

The mosque attacked Saturday night in Quebec City opened its doors to media on Wednesday evening. A spokesman for the mosque said that it was a means of showing the openness of the Muslim community.

Read more: Quebec media, politicians express regret over Islam rhetoric in wake of mosque attack

Mr. Haroun arrived minutes after a shooter entered the sanctuary and fired bullets following the Sunday evening prayer. He saw bodies splayed on the floor. One man he knew well and recognized was lying on his back, shot through the head.

Other signs bear witness to desperate struggles for survival. At the front of the prayer room, a heavy trail of blood leads down the stairs to the basement and into a back room. Mr. Haroun said it belongs to a man who had been shot in the lower leg and ran downstairs in an attempt to escape the gunfire.

He survived and his life is not in danger. The bloody outline of a bare foot – worshippers remove their shoes before prayer – is still visible.

In a small alcove in the front of the mosque, where numerous men tried to huddle to escape the gunman, bullet holes have left torn shreds in the wall. At least one worshipper was struck.

For many, the visit was necessary though painfully fresh. One man inside the sanctuary sat on a folding chair, sobbing. Others said they wanted to return and open the mosque to journalists so the public could see the tangible remnants of the assault, macabre as they may be.

"I know who that was, and who that was," said Samir Djadja, pointing to blood stains where people were shot dead. "These were my friends, who I'd known for years. We wanted people to see how horrible it was. This wasn't a movie. There were lives lost and orphans created."

Since Sunday, the mosque had been off bounds, separated from outsiders by police tape. It was a crime scene. On Tuesday, worshippers wanted to remind the world it was also a place of lost innocence, shared pain and deep personal loss. They said nothing will ever be the same.

Members of the mosque in Quebec City where a shooting took place say they are grateful to have support from so many people in the community.
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Cannabis pro newsletter