Quebec: Aymen Derbali is a hero for Canadians. Canadians are raising money to help Derbali, who uses a wheelchair and is undergoing treatment, move into a new home with his family that will meet his needs.
Going inside the story, Aymen saved his fellow congregants during Quebec City mosque attack. A gunman opened fire on worshippers all around him.
Derbali says that “I tried not to panic or flee,” and he also said that “I tried to concentrate so that he wouldn’t fire on others. I would rather have been paralysed for life than to have fled and been left unscathed, without having done something to help people.”
This attack happened on January 29 and 6 Muslims were killed in the attack.
Derbali was shot several times at close range and rushed to a local hospital in Quebec City, where he spent two months in a coma.
When he finally woke up, he learned that he would never walk again.
Amira Elghawaby, an Ottawa-based volunteer with DawaNet, a Muslim community group in Ontario that organised the fundraiser, says that “Essentially, he is a hero, he was shot seven times. Two bullets are permanently lodged in his spinal chord now. He cannot walk. He has been in a rehabilitation centre since the tragedy.”
Derbali’s wife and three children currently live in a small apartment on the fourth floor of a building in Quebec City.
In a video shared by DawaNet, Derbali said his condition was improving every day.
Aymen thanking the people who have reached out to check on his health said that “I’m moving my arms and I’m doing physiotherapy.”
By Wednesday, the online campaign had raised just over $33,800 (over $43,500 Canadian dollars).
Elghawaby says that “His heart is there. Even despite this tragedy, he’s very connected to the local community, to his brothers and sisters there.”
She further said that “It really is up to all of us to step up and be a hero in his life.”
In relation to the attack Alexandre Bissonnette, a Quebec university student, was arrested and charged with six counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder.
According to CBC News, in 2017, 71 hateful incidents were reported in Quebec City and 42 of those targeted Muslims.
“The best way to confront hatred is through love. The love that already has been showered on Aymen and his family … is really hopeful,” Elghawaby said.