A memorial mass was held in Edmonton Sunday to honour and remember a renowned Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli forces earlier this month.
Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was a household name across the Arab world, revered for her coverage of Palestinian life under Israeli rule for the satellite channel Al Jazeera for the last 25 years.
On May 11, she was shot during an Israeli military raid in the town of Jenin. Journalists with her at the time found that Israeli forces fired upon them despite being able to identify the group as reporters. A Palestinian Authority probe into the incident confirmed the eyewitness accounts.
Israel rejected the findings of that investigation, with the country’s minister of defence, Benny Gantz, calling them, “a blatant lie.”
Joe Hak, a community spokesperson, said the mass in Edmonton was held at Our Lady of Good Help Maronite Catholic Parish to help raise awareness of Abu Akleh and offer those who followed her coverage or knew her personally a chance to grieve.
“The martyrdom of Shireen Abu Akleh who was assassinated by the Israelis has really shaken the whole world,” Hak told CTV News Edmonton.
“The whole world is connected to Palestine, and the Palestinian community here, we have people who were her neighbours here,” he added. “We believe that she was targeted specially because she was showing that the Palestinians have been enduring the vicious attacks on a daily basis.”
While many around the world focus on Abu Akleh’s death, Hak said it is important to remember the wider conflict that continues between Israel and Palestinians.
“She is not the only martyr in Palestine. Every day they kill Palestinians, young, old, and women,” he said. “She was always trying to promote peace.”
“It is so important that the whole world knows about Shireen Abu Akleh.”
With files from The Associated Press
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