Paramount Fine Foods CEO offers to cover cost of funerals for mosque shooting victims
Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2017 3:46PM EST
In the wake of a mass shooting at a Quebec mosque, a Ontario-based restaurant chain is stepping up to offer relief to the victims and their families.
Paramount Fine Foods has offered to cover the costs of the funerals for the six Muslim men who were shot dead while praying at a mosque in Quebec City’s Sainte-Foy neighbourhood Sunday night.
Mohamad Fakih, Paramount’s CEO, also offered to pay to repair any damage the mosque sustained in the shooting.
“It’s just doing what’s right. It’s not about the community being appreciative,” he told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday. “We believe as Muslims that when you’re blessed with money, success or knowledge that you share it. You’re blessed with that money (so it) can be there for the community and to give it back for the people who need it at the right time.”
Fakih said he reached out to Canada’s largest Islamic charity, Islamic Relief Canada, after hearing of their campaign to raise money to help the families of the victims.
Zaid Al-Rawni, the CEO of Islamic Relief Canada, said donations have been pouring in to support those affected since the tragedy.
“All Canadians are coming together and acknowledging that these aren’t our values, we know what our values are and they’re shared values that we all share as Canadians. It’s a beautiful thing for us to see,” he said. “I know from speaking to the community in Quebec, that they are really feeling the love from across Canada.”
As of Tuesday morning, the charity said over $70,000 had been donated from members of the Muslim community across the country.
Six men were brutally murdered and 19 others suffered varying injuries after a 27-year-old university student opened fire inside the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec during evening prayers on Sunday evening.
The gunman, identified as Alexandre Bissonnette, faces six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder in connection with the incident.
He was arrested at a bridge after calling 9-1-1 to turn himself in.
Community members identified many of the victims as fathers. All were within the ages of 39 and 60.
Fakih said he was devastated while trying to explain the news to his young son.
“It’s scary. I had to explain to my son, who’s 12 years old, what’s happening but that we’re safe and that we’re in a great country and that we’ll be okay altogether as Canadians,” he said. “My heart was shattered for these families.”
Fakih said the solidarity he’s seen from his community and from Canada’s leaders has been uplifting and makes him feel proud to be a Canadian citizen.
“It’s an honour for me,” he said, “and it’s a duty for us at Paramount to show our support and our contribution and our partnership with the Muslim community at the first level but the Canadian community at large.”