Base Valcartier expresses its solidarity with the Muslim community of Quebec City a second time

Article / July 7, 2017 / Project number: 17-0193

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By Simon Leblanc, Adsum Newspaper

Valcartier, Québec — On June 15, members of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Québec City (ICCQ) paid a return visit to the chaplains they had welcomed last winter, who had gone to see them to show solidarity after the tragic attack on January 29 at the Québec City mosque.

As the visitors stepped off the bus, the Commander of the 2nd Canadian Division (2 Cdn Div) Support Group, Brigadier-General Sébastien Bouchard, warmly welcomed them with a handshake. Thus began the activity known as Operation SOLIDARITY II, at 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier.

Parents and children from the Muslim community joined the military members for a ceremony in the chapel. “Working together and showing solidarity with each other is a way for us to build ties and become a stronger and healthier community. It directly contributes to the society in which we live,” said the Principal Chaplain of 2 Cdn Div, Commander Bonita Mason.

The term “resilience” came up more than once during the visit, including when BGen Bouchard addressed those present: “The tragedy on January 29 deeply affected us in its contradiction to our core values. Now, as we look back on the past few months, you are going to be a source of inspiration for us, in terms of resilience, on our next deployments.”

The President of the ICCQ, Mohamed Labidi, was very honoured by the welcome and very moved by the support of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). “Today’s event strengthens the closer ties between the Muslim community and the CAF. Our closer ties were already palpable just a few weeks after the tragedy. We are ready at all times to work alongside the military, and we welcome all opportunities to further strengthen ties in the future,” he indicated during a short speech.

BGen Bouchard wrapped up the ceremony by presenting his guests with a certificate, on behalf of the Commander of 2 Cdn Div and the Joint Task Force (East), Brigadier-General Hercule Gosselin, as a token of solidarity with the Muslim community of Québec City. Next, they chatted for a bit before the ICCQ members continued their tour of Base Valcartier, starting with the Valcartier Family Centre, in the company of BGen Bouchard and Cdr Mason.

As a reminder, on January 29, Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old political science student, barged in on the ICCQ’s evening prayer and opened fire on those present, killing six people and injuring eight. On June 15, at Base Valcartier’s chapel, military members and their guests observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the attack.

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