As people across the country mourn the deaths of six people gunned down at a mosque in Quebec City in an apparent hate crime, a Toronto business has offered to pay for the funerals of those killed in the attack.  

In a press release Tuesday, Islamic Relief Canada said that Etobicoke-based Paramount Fine Foods has offered to pay for funeral costs and construction costs to repair damage at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre.

“When we heard the news it was very worrisome. It’s kind of a scary wake-up and (you) don’t expect something like this to happen in Canada,” Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods told CP24 in an interview Tuesday.

Fakih said that when he heard about the attack, he was devastated.

“I was heartbroken. So were my wife and my boys – I had to explain what happened to them in the morning. It’s not easy to explain to children,” he said.

After hearing the news, Fakih said he felt compelled to do something.

“We want to step in as a family, as a business, my franchisees, everyone. We were talking on the phone yesterday and the idea was to help these families with the funeral costs and possibly the mosque, with any repairs that are needed. That’s what Islam taught me and that’s what Canada taught me,” Fakih said.

Fakih got in touch with the mosque through Islamic Relief Canada – a charity that was already fundraising for the victims and their families – and made the offer.

“We’re thankful to them that they accepted us to be part of this problem and hopefully part of the solution most importantly,” he said.

Fakih said that while he’s happy to be able to help in some way himself, the response to the tragedy from across the country has been reassuring.

“It’s very reassuring what we heard from all levels of government and the Muslim community,” he said. We’re very thankful to the media outlets because we felt 100 per cent Canadian, we felt accepted.

“We felt that when there is a problem, Canadians do what we expect them to do – to be beside us when there is a problem and that is the definition of a partner. It’s a partnership and we are committed as a community as well, regardless of the problem.”

 According to the release, Islamic Relief Canada will be administering the funds.

“We’ve had an overwhelming support from Canadians wanting to help in whatever way they can,” Zaid Al-Rawni of Islamic Relief Canada said in the release. “This commitment from Mohamad Fakih will go a long way in rebuilding the mosque and keeping the community together after such a tragedy.”