Lebanese community in London, Ont., hosting vigil for victims of Beirut explosions

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Londoners are invited to Victoria Park this Sunday for a rally and vigil to remember the lives lost in the Beirut, Lebanon explosions.

Ali Chahbar, the outreach co-ordinator for the London Muslim Mosque, is one of the organizers of the event.

Read more: London, Ont., Lebanese community mourns, prepares to help following Beirut explosion

He tells 980 CFPL the rally is in support of the Lebanese, what they’ve been through, and what they’re currently going through right now.

“The horrific situation that they’re in (started) before last week. They’ve been going through economic and political corruption issues, as well as COVID-19, and now, this horrific blast,” Chahbar said.

“The rally is to rally around them, rally support, rally hope and prayers, and financially help them.”

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A massive portion of Beirut was obliterated on Tuesday when a pair of explosions tore through the city.

At least 135 people were killed and more than 5,000 injured, though authorities expect both numbers to rise.

The source of at least one blast is believed to be 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was being stored at the Port of Beirut.

“This is about humanity. This is not about a culture or country,” said Chahbar.

Lebanese Canadians rally to help Beirut

Lebanese Canadians rally to help Beirut

The peaceful rally and vigil will be held on Sunday, Aug. 9 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Victoria Park.

According to Chahbar, it will begin with the Canadian and Lebanese national anthems, followed by some well wishes from community leaders and politicians, and then there will be a moment of silence to remember the victims.

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Due to COVID-19, those attending are asked to wear a mask and comply with physical-distancing guidelines.

Read more: Lebanese community, at home and abroad, devastated after Beirut explosion

Other than the event on Sunday, Chahbar says the Lebanese community in London is working hard to help support those impacted in Beirut as much as possible.

“The (London Muslim Mosque’s) fundraising committee has allocated at least $15,000.”

More donations are expected to pour in after Friday’s prayers, said Chahbar.

“Other than the London Muslim Mosque, the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario, the Muslim Association of Canada, and the Lebanese Canadian Cultural Club of London, all have efforts in place right now for people to donate.”

Read more: Beirut explosion — Here’s how you can help the victims

The outreach co-ordinator says he hopes for a hundred to a thousand people to attend Sunday’s peaceful rally and vigil.

“Bring your prayers, bring your flags and bring your good energy,” Chahbar said.

“They’re all the way over there, (9,000 kilometres) away, but hopefully what we do will resonate with them.”

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How the Beirut blast would have impacted Canadian cities

How the Beirut blast would have impacted Canadian cities

London is not the first Canadian city to mourn and honour the lives lost in Tuesday’s deadly Beirut explosion through a vigil.

Montreal’s Lebanese community gathered for a second vigil Thursday evening, and dozens of people attended a vigil at the Vancouver Art Gallery Wednesday night.

-With files from Global News

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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