Trudeau thanks Ontario community as mosque re-opens after fire
Published Sunday, January 17, 2016 11:55AM EST
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau helped officially reopen a mosque in Peterborough, Ont., on Sunday, two months after the place of worship was deliberately torched.
"As happy as I am to be here, at the same time I wish that an event like this wasn't needed," Trudeau said on Sunday.
According to police, vandals intentionally set the mosque ablaze on Nov. 15, 2015, one day after deadly terrorist attacks killed more than 100 people in Paris.
At the time, the Peterborough fire department estimated that the fire caused about $80,000 in damage. Though the mosque's exterior remained intact, the inside of the building was badly damaged.
As members of the local Muslim community found themselves without a place to worship, local churches stepped in, offering temporary spaces for prayer.
Community members also set up an online fundraiser, which quickly raised more than $100,000.
On Sunday, Trudeau praised these efforts and thanked the Kawartha Muslim Religious Association for its "exemplary Canadian-ness."
"The negative actions of a few were quickly overwhelmed by courage, positivity and grace," Trudeau said. "Thank you for showing Canada how it's done."
The prime minister pledged that his government would support local efforts to create a more welcoming city, and wished the community a new year filled with "faith, community, and new beginnings."
Trudeau also took a moment to commemorate the six Canadians killed in what he called a "brutal act of violent terrorism" in Burkina Faso earlier this week.
He opened his speech by calling for a moment of silence in memory of the victims.