Gunman attacks Muslims at evening prayer: six dead, five wounded
The face of extremism was revealed in Canada when a man followed his dark inner impulses and stormed into the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec in St. Foy, Quebec City on the evening of Sunday, January 29 with his AK-47 blazing, killing six men and wounding five.
The alleged killer, Alexandre Bissonnette a 27-year-old Laval University student, has been identified as a recent convert to the politics of the right with strong anti-Muslim and anti feminist views.
Witnesses say he entered the Centre just after the Sunday evening prayers around 8:00 PM and unleashed his deadly attack against the 50 or so men gathered there.
Police, who initially arrested another man, categorized the crime as a terrorist attack and determined that Bissonnette acted alone. So far, they have laid 11 charges against him, six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Since the attack, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has led a chorus of voices from politicians expressing support of the Muslim community in Quebec and across Canada.
The day after it happened Trudeau told the House of Commons all of Canada was sharing in the heartbreak of the Muslims and assured them that they are at home here.
His sentiments were echoed by the leaders of all the opposition parties, all of who traveled with the prime minister to Quebec City on the evening of Monday January 30, to attend a massive vigil in support of those murdered and their community.
The attack has placed the spotlight on the politics of division and hatred that’s emanating from the USA, especially with newly elected President Donald Trump making good on his election promise to ban Muslims with a new executive order imposing a 90-day travel restriction on visitors from seven countries including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya.
And as it ferments south of the border, Islamophobia has also been part of the cauldron of hate in Quebec and Canada where opportunistic politicians have been targeting immigrants with calls for extra vetting and adherence to “Canadian values.”
In the face of the unspeakable violence against their community, Muslim leaders are welcoming the commitment of solidarity from politicians but are hoping that the tragedy will lead increased tolerance and inclusivity.
The alleged killer will appear in a Quebec court next on February 15.