Hundreds of Muslim Canadians form 'rings of peace' to protect synagogues after Pittsburgh shooting
© Getty Images

Hundreds of Muslims formed “rings of peace” around synagogues in Canada this weekend to support Jewish communities after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue left 11 dead late last month.

Several Muslim groups, including the National Council of Canadian Muslims, organized busloads to travel from mosques to form the protective circles around six Toronto synagogues, according to CNN.

Fatima Sajan, one of the organizers, told CNN that the rings were meant to tell Jewish Canadians, “We’re here for you,” after the deadly shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue last month.

The shooting, which left 11 people dead and others injured during religious Saturday morning services, is believed to be the deadliest attack against Jews in U.S. history. The suspected shooter has pleaded not guilty to 44 federal charges, including hate crimes.

The “rings of peace” mirrored those formed by Christians and Jews around mosques last year after a gunman opened fire in the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center, killing six.

Sajan said the rings formed at the synagogues over the weekend were also a symbol of strength.

"In order to get to the synagogue you have to go through us first,” Sajan said. At least one ring was comprised of nearly 250 people, according to social media posts.

Sajan told CNN that a recent rise in hate crimes points to an increased need for Muslims and Jews to stand together.

"It's not just about one community — we're all facing one common hate and one common intolerance,” she said. “It's not just up to the Jewish community to solve anti-Semitism. … We have to recognize that these issues are common forms of hatred. And we'll be working together to address the hate."

Muslim Americans also stepped in to support Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, raising a total of more than $230,000 to help victims of the shooting and their families.