Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday will attend the funeral of two Algerians and a Tunisian man killed with three others in a mosque shooting, as he seeks to pull together a nation shaken by the hate crime.
Up to 5,000 mourners are expected to pack a hockey arena in Montreal’s Olympic park for the 1:00 pm (1800 GMT) funeral, while millions across Canada watch it on television.
For many in this mostly secular nation, the ceremony will be their first glimpse of traditional Muslim funeral rites.
There will also be prayers for the other three victims, whose memorial services will be held tomorrow in Quebec City. Afterward, Trudeau is expected to give “a short speech,” according to his office.
The bodies of the three victims will then be transported to their respective birth countries for burial. There has been an outpouring of support for Canada’s minority Muslim community in the wake of Sunday night’s attack that killed six people and wounded eight, but also pockets of increased hate mongering.
“I think that we are all suffering from (the shooting),” said Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who is also expected to attend the funeral.
“Not just the Muslim community, it’s not just the people of Quebec. Everyone is suffering from this.”
Hassane Abdelkrim, 41, and Khaled Belkacemi, 60, a professor at Laval University, both immigrated to Canada from Algeria.
Aboubaker Thabti, 44, moved to Canada from Tunisia a decade ago.
“Most of the victims wanted to be buried in Quebec City, but a lack of (Muslim) cemeteries is an unfortunate obstacle,” said Hadjira Belkacem, president of the Quebec Muslim burial association.
Despite Quebec City being home to some 6,500 Muslims, the closest cemetery with available burial plots for Muslims is in Montreal, 250 kilometers (155 miles) away.