N.Z. shooting: Toronto Jewish community to form 'ring of peace' around area mosques
Ben Cousins, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, March 21, 2019 10:09PM EDT
Members of Toronto’s Jewish community are planning to gather at several mosques around the city on Friday for a “ring of peace,” as mourners grieve following the deadly shooting in New Zealand.
Last week, a gunman entered a pair of mosques in Christchurch, N.Z., killing 50 worshippers and injuring dozens more.
During Friday afternoon prayer tomorrow, several Jewish groups are planning to show their solidarity with the city’s Muslim community by circling several mosques in a gesture of support for those who grieve.
“This is very much from the heart,” Rabbi Cory Weiss, a rabbi with the Temple Har Zion in Thornhill, Ont., told CTV News Channel on Thursday. “We’re paying respect and we’re grieving together. We understand the pain the community is feeling and we want them to know that we’re there with them.”
Daryoush Kari, chair of the board of trustees for the Imam Mahdi Mosque in Markham, Ont., said the support is certainly welcome.
“I’m happy because at this moment it shows it’s important to be Canadian and I’m so grateful for that,” he said. “Rabbi Weiss has always supported our community and I’m happy that we’re going to see them tomorrow as well.”
Toronto’s Muslim community created their own ring of peace around some Toronto synagogues in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh shooting back in October and there was a similar outpouring of support following the Quebec City mosque shooting in 2017.
Weiss and Kari’s religious groups have made a point of working together toward various initiatives over the past 40 years, including co-sponsoring a pair of Syrian refugee families a couple years ago.
“We can be a great example for all other communities,” said Kari. “Our common elements are way more than our differences.”
In New Zealand, several mosques across the country are expected to open their doors for Friday prayer while human chains will offer symbolic protection. Thousands of people are also expected to gather at a park near the mosque where the majority of the victims were killed.
The Muslim call to prayer will be broadcast on national television in New Zealand as well, followed by a two-minute moment of silence.