By now, you should be aware that there was a deadly shooting that took place in the City of Québec on Sunday night.
A number of groups from the far right, especially in Quebec, were very quick to dissociate themselves from the attack, which has so far resulted in 6 deaths and 8 critical injuries.
As I write these words the reports indicate that there were three shooters. Of the two who are now in custody, one is of Moroccan origin (Mohamed Khadir), while the other is a Quebecois Canadian (Alexandre Bissonnette). Despite this, there are still fake rumours out there claiming that the shooter is a Syrian refugee, to attack the refugree program of the Trudeau government, and Trudeau’s recent comments against Trump’s decision to close the US’s border to immigrants coming from 7 Muslim countries…
Islamophobic acts have been regularly on the rise since 9/11. Particularly in Quebec, things went from bad to worse with the Quebec Charter of Values that was introduced by Pauline Marois’s party to end “reasonable accommodations“. This specific mosque has also been targeted in the past with graffiti, vandalism… and last year, during the month of Ramadan, the head of pig was placed with a note at its entrance… That is why some have already made analogies between this and the unfortunate events that took place in Norway in 2011 when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people (69 Muslims) and claimed that it was to promote his manifesto A European Declaration Independence, in which he explained his militant ideology, his opposition to Islam as THE enemy as the necessity to deport all Muslims out of Europe, as well as Europe’s cultural suicide as a result of feminism.
In Quebec, the far right “nationalist” groups like Fédération des Québécois de souche, Atalanta Québec, la Meute and others have distanced themselves from these acts. For instance, the FQS complains and states on its official FB page that “while the medias are so careful and hesitant to link terrorism and Islamism even when faced with clear evidence, they did not hesitate one bit to associate these acts to nationalist organizations. And while the story and the facts have not been revealed yet, we wish, first, to declare that only deeply deranged persons are capable of such an act, and that, secondly, to denounce it firmly. Violence is not our solution.”
These groups have been putting up posters to stop immigration, and asking people to defend their Québécois identity. Experts in national security and terrorism say that the actions of such groups clearly encourage and instigate further crimes against minorities, places of worship, and certain communities. (French interview here).
Of course, Trump’s decision and declarations have only fueled anti-Muslim sentiments, and perhaps encouraged many of those who were pretending not to be racists to stop pretending (to borrow the punch-line from Aziz Ansari’s SNL monologue…). But blaming the President for the shooting is unacceptable according to his supporters…
But amidst the pain and ugliness, there are still rays of hope, especially in a country like Canada, where the hate is counterbalanced with compassion and humanity, as expressed by so many citizens, mayors, MPs, provincial premiers, and the PM, who released the following statement:
“It was with tremendous shock, sadness and anger that I heard of this evening’s tragic and fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec located in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of the city of Québec.
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of all those who have died, and we wish a speedy recovery to those who have been injured.
“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.
“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country. Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance.
“Tonight, we grieve with the people of Ste-Foy and all Canadians.”
Peace to all