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‘We lost him’: Iraqi Canadians in Halifax heartbroken over Baghdad bombing

Posted by on 21/11/2018

It’s been almost two weeks since chaos erupted onto downtown Baghdad streets after a suicide bombing killed hundreds of people.

READ MORE: End of Ramadan marked by wave of ISIS-linked attacks worldwide.

ChangSha Night Net

It’s a terrorist attack that hits close to home for some Iraqi Canadians from Halifax.

“I was shocked, shocked. I’ve been in that mall many times, I was shopping from that area, it’s my neighbourhood, it’s my country,” said Sadiq Naji, a member of the Al-Batool Islamic Society in Halifax.

Naji grew up in the Karrada neighbourhood of Baghdad, the same neighbourhood where the deadly attack occurred. He knows first hand the devastation terrorism can cause —; it’s the reason why he fled Iraq as a refugee in 2006.

“I was there in 2003 during the war. There was so much trouble, all the bombings, all the killings, it wasn’t safe,” Naji said.

READ MORE: U.K. planning, preparations for Iraq war ‘wholly inadequate,’ inquiry finds

Naji is one of several organizers holding a candlelight vigil to honour the victims of the recent attacks.

One of those victims was the best friend of Omar Qatab, an Iraqi Canadian who immigrated to Nova Scotia in 2010.

“He was my best friend since I was 15 years old. He never let me down, or my friends down, he was always there and we lost him,” Qatab said.

Adel Euro was killed just a few days before his wedding.

“His wedding was supposed to be on July 5th and he died on July 3rd,” Qatab said.

The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

It’s a claim that Jamal Badawi, a retired professor of religious studies at SMU, believes has nothing to do with true Islamic religious beliefs.

“Anyone can claim anything. It’s the deeds and actions that meet the normative teachings, the ideal teachings, that define you as a Muslim or not. You don’t go and kill someone and say ‘Oh I’m a Muslim!’ Islam doesn’t teach this,” Badawi said.

He says the Islamic religion is one of peace and that terrorism is an evil act, no matter where it comes from.

“Terrorism from any side, against any side, is an act that has nothing to do with the true teaching of any respectable religion.”

Daily prayer is an integral part of the Islamic faith, and many people in the community are sending their prayers to the world.

“I pray for everybody and I hope for everybody to be safe,” Qatab said.

The candlelight vigil is set for 8 p.m. on July 12 at Victoria Park in Halifax.

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