Mississauga Restaurateur Covering Funeral Costs of Quebec City Mosque Shooting Victims
When it comes to helping the community, Paramount Fine Foods CEO Mohamad Fakih has never been afraid to give back.
Now, the man who pledged to hire Syrian refugees is once again extending a helping hand to those in need by offering to cover the funeral costs of victims of the tragic Quebec City mosque shooting.
In a recent conversation with insauga.com, Fakih said that Paramount will pay for funerals for the six Muslim men who were gunned down on Sunday, Jan 29 in Quebec City's Sainte-Foy neighbourhood. Fakih also said that he will donate money to help cover the cost of repairs to the mosque.
Any funds donated by Paramount and other contributors that are leftover will go to the victim's families.
"As soon as it happened, it was devastating and worrisome," says Fakih. "It's wasn't just about the families and what happened, it was about the whole community."
After the tragic shooting took the lives of six men and injured 19 others, Fakih decided to reach out to the Islamic Relief charitable organization to discuss donating funds to cover the costs of the victim's funerals.
"At first I was shocked, then I realized we have to react and do something about it. I said 'me and my wife and boys want to help.' My wife had suggested covering funeral costs and I said 'I'll do it.' It's only about doing the right thing, I would do it for any other community because that's who we are as Canadians. Being Muslim and being Canadian is about giving back."
Fakih said Islamic Relief agreed to accept the offer and turn the funds over to the mosque.
While the horrific attack no doubt came as a shock to everyone, Fakih says he and his family were incredibly encouraged by the outpouring of grief and support the Muslim community received in the wake of the tragedy.
"It was reassuring to the Muslim community how all Canadians and the government and media reacted to this. The reaction was good for all communities because it showed that Canada would stand by them. We're all Canadian. We all came together for this. It made a positive out of something that's only negative."
Fakih said that his young children—he has three boys who are 12, 10 and two years of age—asked a lot of questions in the wake of the shooting and that it was difficult to explain the situation.
"They were worried and asking questions, but you have to explain to them why it happened. I was worried too. My son who is 12 asked if it could happen again and I had to explain to him that it could, but hopefully people will work together to ensure it doesn't happen."
While Fakih says that he is fortunate enough to be able to help in a big way, he hopes the gesture will encourage others to reach out and provide support—even if it's just moral and emotional support.
"People are saying 'good for you, you could afford it,' and I tell people to just post something sweet on Facebook. You can give your time, a good word, a nice post. That goes a long way."
While the tragedy has shaken the entire country, Fakih says he's hopeful that Canadians will work together in the future to hopefully prevent such tragedies.
"You always lead by example and hope people see it and do the same. I'm assured that all Canadians will come together for any problem that any community will face. This is why I'm proud to be Canadian. This is why we are who are. I want to thank Canadians for all the support that we've received."