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Wood Buffalo Residents Unite in Walk Against Hate and Islamophobia


(Fort McMurray, AB – February 1, 2017) – Residents of Wood Buffalo joined together today for a unity walk as a demonstration of solidarity of all social and religious groups, and as a condemnation of the tragic events at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City on Sunday.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those who were affected by this tragedy,” said Mayor Melissa Blake. “In solidarity and sympathy, we are proud to join with the communities across Canada that are standing together as one against hate.”

“We are very sad and disturbed by the attack that took the lives of innocent people while they were in a place of worship,” said Mohammad Al Zabidi, President of Markaz Ul Islam, a Muslim congregation in Fort McMurray. “We would like to offer our prayers to the victims and ask almighty Allah to give their families and loved ones the patience to cope with this tragedy.

“We would also like to express our gratitude for all of the support that the local residents, organization leaders, and faith groups have shown. Sunday’s attack prompted a heightened awareness and concern for the safety and security of Muslims everywhere in Canada.”

“The Fort McMurray Public School District offers its condolences to the families of the victims and our thoughts and prayers go to all those affected by the Quebec tragedy,” said Doug Nicholls, spokesperson for the Fort McMurray Public School District. “The Board of Trustees and the District stand with the community and the rest of Canada during this time.”

The unity walk took place in downtown Fort McMurray as the group started at Jubilee Centre on Franklin Ave. and made their way to the Markaz Ul Islam Mosque located on Gordon Ave.

“Seeing the events of the past weekend coupled with the horrific killings in Quebec Sunday night, we wanted to join together and show that love is always stronger than hate, and hope is always better than fear,” said Colleen Tatum, co-organizer of the unity walk. “We wanted to show our Muslim community members - you are welcome here, we want you here, we are better because you are here. We are standing with you in love and unity against hate."

“In such a time as this, standing together in peaceful condemnation of violence and hatred is crucial for all,” says Rev. Donalee Williams of First United Church, spokesperson for the Collaboration for Religious Inclusion. “Whether or not we are part of a faith community, we must gather to grieve and also bear witness to the power of love and inclusion.”
Those interested in supporting and promoting religious inclusion and understanding can contact the Collaboration for Religious Inclusion at


Media inquiries

Colleen Tatum
Unity Walk Co-organizer

Abdulrahman Murad
Markaz Ul Islam
1 -778-869-8146

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