Anger at Muslims flows across the border
The Short Version
Two men are in custody after a shooting at a Quebec City mosque that left at least six dead and eight injured. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quick to denounce the murders and declare them an act of terrorism. The shooting occurred as many in the US were protesting a travel ban on Muslims from seven countries.
A Bit More Detail
Quebec City officials are not releasing a much detail after a shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre that left at least six people dead and eight others injured. Approximately 50 worshippers had gathered for evening prayers when the two men began shooting, apparently at random. The dead range in age from 35 to 70.
No motive has been given for the attack as of this morning, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t hesitate to call it an act of terror. Trudeau said in a statement:
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge. 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.”
If such violence in Canada comes as a surprise to you, you’re not alone. Canada is generally open and accepting of immigrants and people of any faith. Just earlier this weekend, Trudeau said that Canada would accept those turned away by the US travel ban that caused considerable confusion and outrage over the weekend.
However, the French-speaking province of Quebec tends to be a bit more cantankerous on a number of issues, including immigration. Francois Deschamps, an organizer of a refugee support group in Quebec City, said he was saddened but not surprised by the attack. He says right-wing groups there are well organized, constantly posting leaflets and stickers across the city.
Still, the Associated Press says that Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume “appeared visibly shaken.” Labeaume said: “No person should have to pay with their life, for their race, their color, their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs.”
There will be solidarity rallies held across Quebec this evening and increased security at mosques across Canada as well as New York City.