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Toowoomba bridge lights up for victims of Paris terror

TONIGHT the Victoria St bridge in Toowoomba is lit blue, white and red in honour of the innocent lives lost in Paris from Friday's terror attacks.

"Like so many around the world we want to stand in solidarity with the people of France as they come to terms with such tragedy," Mayor Paul Antonio said.

"United as a community we say clearly that such horrific acts by a small minority will not overcome peace and goodwill."

The Victoria St extension of the Outer Circulating Road in Toowoomba is seen lit up in blue, white and red in this composite image as a mark of solidarity with the people of Paris and France following terrorist attacks.
The Victoria St extension of the Outer Circulating Road in Toowoomba is seen lit up in blue, white and red in this composite image as a mark of solidarity with the people of Paris and France following terrorist attacks. Kevin Farmer

Shootings, bomb blasts and a hostage siege in Paris on Friday left at least 129 people dead and hundreds wounded, Islamic State accepted responsibility.

Toowoomba Muslim leader Professor Shahjahan Khan has spoken out about the attacks, saying Garden City residents are smarter than to blame an entire religion for the actions of extremists.

"First of all this is a crime against the world, there is nowhere in the world you can justify killing innocent people in any way," he said.

Professor Khan said the appropriate reaction for Toowoomba residents would be to continue living in unity.

"The idea of religion is to live peacefully and in harmony. I don't have words to describe how I feel about those people who are behind these attacks. Anyone who thinks like that, be directly or indirectly involved, they have no place in any religion let alone Islam," he said.

"These attacks from people all over the world are directly impacting Muslim communities everywhere and Toowoomba is no different, we feel that our religion is being abused by some people, people we don't know or share any beliefs with."

Associate Professor Shahjahan Khan.
Associate Professor Shahjahan Khan. Nev Madsen

Tensions are high after the Garden City mosque was ravaged by a fire earlier this year, in what was the second arson attack on the mosque.

However Professor Khan expects treatment of Toowoomba's Muslims after Friday's horror attacks to be no different.

"I think people (are) gradually understanding what kind of organisation is behind these attacks, killings and murders. They know the facts and that these people do not stand for Islam," he said.

"Toowoomba is a very united city; we are a prime example of living in peace and harmony through our mixed religions, multicultural societies and so on.

"I also believe Toowoomba residents have respect to each other. Our Mosque is open to everyone in the community and it has been for many years, not just after these incidents."

The city flags fly at half mast tomorrow as a sign of respect.

Topics:  paris attacks toowoomba unity


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