Gurpreet Singh: Quebec mosque massacre victims and Sikh caretaker remembered in Surrey

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      Braving cold weather and rain, dedicated community activists came together on Saturday (February 3) evening in Surrey to honour the victims of the Quebec City mosque massacre.

      Organized by the Coalition Against Bigotry (CAB), the vigil was held in Holland Park to mark first anniversary of the attack that left six innocent worshippers dead.

      The crime was committed by a white supremacist. The CAB, which was formed to counter growing racism in North America, has demanded that Canadian authorities take strong measures to check the increasing threat of the alt right.

      Among those in attendance were three provincial cabinet ministers (Harry Bains, Bruce Ralston, and Jinny Sims) and two NDP MLAs (Ravi Kahlon and Rachna Singh).

      Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism, was one of the speakers.

      Last Monday (January 29), he and Labour Minister Bains hosted a roundtable with the Muslim community to find out solutions for tackling the challenge of Islamophobia in B.C.

      Singh, who organized a forum against racism in the past and who has been vocal against Islamophobia, called upon everyone to stand up against hate.

      Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Rachna Singh (wife of writer Gurpreet Singh) was one of several speakers in Holland Park.

      The event was held close to the 20th anniversary of the murder of Nirmal Singh Gill, a caretaker at the Guru Nanak Sikh temple in Surrey. Gill, who was brutally killed by skinheads in the temple parking lot, was also remembered at the vigil.

      CAB founder and spokesperson Imtiaz Popat made a documentary on Gill in the past and also addressed the gathering.

      As Coalition of Bigotry founder Imtiaz Popat speaks, a woman attends to candles honouring the victims of the Quebec mosque shooting as well as Nirmal Singh Gill, who was murdered in Surrey in 1998.
      Gurpreet Singh

      The candles were lit by relatives of Gill.

      Popat pointed out that racism continues to prevail in Canada and has grown ever since Donald Trump became president of the United States. 

      The event concluded with Arabic prayers for the dead and a song sung by Popat. 

      Gurpreet Singh is cofounder of Radical Desi magazine. He's also the author of Why Mewa Singh Killed William Hopkinson: Revisiting the Murder of a Canadian Immigration Inspector and Fighting Hatred With Love: Voices of the Air India Victims' Families. Both were published by Chetna Parkashan.