Monday January 30, 2017
The Sunday (January 29) night shooting at a mosque in Quebec City, Canada has left six dead, 19 others have been injured of whom six are believed to be in critical or serious condition.
Quebec police have confirmed that there was only one shooter--Alexandre Boissonette. The other person identified as Mohammed el-Khidher is not a suspect, but a witness to the shooting, according to the latest information provided by Quebec police.
Quebec police have confirmed that there was only one shooter--Alexandre Boissonette. The other suspect, Mohammed el-Khidher is not a suspect and is a witness to the shooting, according to the latest information provided by Quebec police.
The heavily armed attackers fired into a crowd of about 50 worshipers as they were offering the night prayers. Suspected attacker is identified by authorities as Alexandre Bissonnette.
One suspect was arrested on the scene and another on a highway leading out of the city towards Orleans Island, according to Quebec City police. The police also recovered a number of heavy weapons from one of the attackers.
Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard referred to the shooting as a terrorist attack and condemned it.
"We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.
"Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country."
While the police claimed only two persons were involved, Reuters quoting a witness saying that up to three gunmen were involved. Police said the area was secure and the situation was "under control". Thirty-nine people had left the mosque safely, they said. The president of the mosque, Mohamed Yangui - who was not inside at the time – asked, "Why is this happening here? This is barbaric."
Messages of support have poured in to the mosque for which the mosque management thanked the public. The Quebec provincial government has ordered flags to be flown at half-mast at all federal buildings in the province.
In June last year the same mosque was the target of an Islamophobic incident when a pig's head was left in front of the building, with a card saying "bonne appetit". Muslims do not eat pork as it is forbidden in Islam.
There have been increasing incidents of such terror attacks on mosques in different parts of Canada. A year ago, a mosque in Peterborough, Ontario was firebombed and completely destroyed. It was the city’s only mosque. Mosques in Hamilton, ON, have also been firebombed in recent weeks.
While Canada is far better than what is happening south of the border in the US where on Sunday a mosque in Victoria, Texas was attacked and there was shooting earlier at another mosque in Houston, Texas, there is growing fear among Muslims in both countries about the rising level of Islamophobia.
The election of Donald Trump as president of the US has contributed to arousing racist feelings among some Americans, in Canada this role was performed by the now ousted prime minister Stephen Harper. He was a nasty creature and bears much responsibility for spreading hatred against Muslims.
Mercifully, Canadians of all stripes rejected his hate-filled messages and booted him out of office in the elections of October 2015 but by then he had caused enough damage to the multicultural fabric of Canadian society whose ramifications are becoming apparent with attacks on mosques.
It was only a matter of time before someone was killed and it happened in Quebec City last night.
Both Harper and Trump bear direct responsibility for these crimes. There should be no mistake about that.