Two gunmen opened fire on the faithful in a prayer hall of an Islamic Cultural Centre. Six people are dead and eight wounded, some serious. "The Holy Father again strongly condemns the violence that engenders such suffering; and, imploring God for the gift of mutual respect and peace."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis strongly condemned last night’s Quebec City massacre and all forms of violence in a telegram to city’s archbishop, Cardinal Gérald Cyprien Lacroix, whom he met this morning (pictured), assuring him of his prayers for the victims of the mosque attack.
The Holy Father stressed the importance of remaining united, Christians and Muslims, in prayer at such moments. The cardinal, who was visiting Rome, left immediately for Canada.
The telegram signed by Secretary of State Card Pietro Parolin reads: “Having learned of the attack which occurred in Quebec in a prayer room of the Islamic Cultural Centre, which claimed many victims, His Holiness Pope Francis entrusts to the mercy of God the persons who lost their lives and he associates himself through prayer with the pain of their relatives. He expresses his profound sympathy for the wounded and their families, and to all who contributed to their aid, asking the Lord to bring them comfort and consolation in the ordeal.
“The Holy Father again strongly condemns the violence that engenders such suffering; and, imploring God for the gift of mutual respect and peace, he invokes upon the sorely tried families, and upon all persons touched by this tragedy, as well as upon all Quebecers, the benefits of the divine Blessing.”
In a statement, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, also expressed its "great sadness and indignation" perpetrated “against Muslim faithful while in prayer in Quebec City in their place of worship.
“This meaningless gesture has violated the sanctity of human life, and the respect due to a community in prayer and their place of worship.
“The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue strongly condemns this act of unprecedented violence, and wishes to convey its fullest solidarity with the Muslims of Canada, assuring them of fervent prayers for the victims and their families.”
The attack against the Centre culturel islamique de Québec (Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre) was carried out during evening prayers, around 8 pm, in the men's section.
About fifty people had were in the place of worship; six were killed and eight wounded, some of them serious. The victims were all men, aged 35 to 70 years. Two men were arrested. Police rule out that a third gunman was involved as some early reports had indicated.
A witness told Radio-Canada that he saw two men with black mask and that one had a "strong Quebec accent".
Photo: Credit L'Osservatore Romano.